NOI Prison Reform

Prisoner ‘Free Speech’ rights silenced in Pennsylvania

By Gregory Muhammad Delaware Valley Prison Reform Ministry | Last updated: Apr 14, 2015 - 8:47:39 AM

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Mumia Abu-Jamal
What is happening in Ferguson and Pennsylvania that is similar? Justice denied. It is my opinion the Grand Jury decision in the Michael Brown case is a “lie.” The evidence to indict Darren Wilson is very clear. Who made it unclear behind closed doors? In Pennsylvania on October 21, 2014, Governor Tom Corbett signed Senate Bill 508 into law.  What is this bill? Senate Bill 508 would allow a victim of a personal injury crime to bring a civil action against any offender to obtain injunctive relief for “conduct which perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim”. This is defined as anything that causes a temporary or permanent state of mental anguish. In other words, it would “allow judges to censor public speech by inmates and former offenders before it occurs” according to the ACLU.

The bill would also allow the Attorney General or a district attorney to sue on behalf of the crime victim. The cause of action is not limited to the offender’s term of incarceration. This means after the offender has served his or her time or is on parole, this law still applies.  

Mumia Abu-Jamal gave a commencement speech at Goddard College in Vermont. Mumia’s speech was clear. Who made it unclear? Gov. Corbett said this about Mumia during an interview, “And nobody has a right to continually taunt the victims of their violent crimes in the public.” According to Mumia Abu-Jamal, he responded to Gov. Corbett by saying, “He knows that’s ridiculous, both in law and in fact. I’ve never taunted anybody. I’ve rarely talked about the events of December 9, 1981. I’ve talked about all kinds of other issues. I didn’t talk about that when I was at Goddard.”  The result, Senate Bill 508.

Mumia Abu-Jamal pointed out how he was persecuted by a guard that didn’t agree with his writings or him doing interviews by phone. The guard hung the phone up while Mumia conducted a phone interview. Mumia filed a lawsuit. The case is titled, Abu-Jamal v. Price. In that case, the Third Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals determined that Mumia has a constitutional right to write. If he has a constitutional right to write under the First Amendment, then he must also have a constitutional right to read his writings. This is why Mumia called the governor “unconstitutional” Corbett.

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett
Mumia Abu-Jamal stated, Governor Tom“unconstitutional” Corbett knows the new law, Senate Bill 508, “Revictimization Relief Act” is unconstitutional. He was a former attorney general of the state before becoming governor. This is justice denied. It is apparent that the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is in full effect. The 13th Amendment reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

This is the old slavery tactic to silence the slave. Does being a prisoner mean treat them like slaves, or is it some hidden legal standard? It is slavery! The prisons are modern day slave plantations and prisoners are modern day slaves. Can a man be redeemed? The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stated, “There is no human being that cannot be redeemed. Malcolm X and all of the brothers and sisters, who have gone to prison found themselves because knowledge entered their hearts and changed their behavior. Every one of our prisoners can experience that change if they are properly taught.”

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has set forth a solution to the problem of incarcerated Black men in his monumental book, Torchlight for America. In chapter six titled, Developing America’s Moral Backbone, Minister Farrakhan writes, “The Muslims have shown a tremendous ability to reform those of our people who break the law. The movie “Malcolm X” demonstrated how the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad could reform an eighth-grade dropout student and so-called criminal into a world leader. How many future world leaders are languishing in prisons who may never have a chance to do something constructive with their lives. America should be willing to support the Nation of Islam for the next three or more years to teach unhindered in the jails and prisons to begin the process of reform. Meanwhile, we could work with African governments toward the establishment of a territorial base for our people. There are many Black scholars and professionals who are not presently working who would be willing to teach and train the inmate population in the skills necessary to build a new reality. We would offer the prisoners a chance to be reformed, trained, and then work off their time building a new reality on the African continent.”

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s proposal to the U. S. Government will solve the “Revictimization Relief Act,” problem. The victims of crime would never have to worry about “prisoners or former prisoners,” causing them “mental anguish or taunting” them. I want to say to Gov. Corbett, study Minister Farrakhan’s proposal as described in Torchlight for America. This proposal can solve the problem of letting prisoners and former prisoners exercise their “Free Speech,” right. The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad anointed Minister Farrakhan as styled in the Bible, St. Luke 4:18, and also Isaiah 61:1-2, it reads, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (St. Luke 4:18) “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;” (Isaiah  61:1).

The injustice in Ferguson and the passing of Pennsylvania SB508 is a clear sign that Black lives don’t matter. We have to fight to make “Black lives matter.” We need to stand with Min. Farrakhan and call for a “new system of justice.” Separation is the “Answer.” Let us stand with those fighting to reverse this unconstitutional law.

Lastly, I want to thank Student National Prison Reform Minister Abdullah Muhammad for asking me to write this article about this serious act of “injustice.” I have been working with Minister Abdullah since 1990, during my incarceration. I truly thank Allah for letting me serve in the Nation of Islam Prison Reform Ministry in the Delaware Valley Region.

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