The below message, from Robert King, a former New Orleans Black Panther and member of Angola Three, was recently published in the International Coalition to Free the Angola Three newsletter.
First of all I would like to applaud and salute those in the Occupy movement for focusing on the hideous corruption of corporate America and the effects this corruption has on all of us in the 99%, including the well over two million individuals that fill our detention facilities and their families.
Being in prison, in solitary was terrible. It was a nightmare. My soul still cries from all that I witnessed and endured. It does more than cry- it mourns, continuously. I saw men so desperate that they ripped prison doors apart, starved and mutilated themselves. It takes every scrap of humanity to stay focused and sane in this environment. The pain and suffering are everywhere, constantly with you. But, it's was also so much more than that. I had dreams and they were beautiful dreams. I used to look forward to the nights when I could sleep and dream. There's no describing the day to day assault on your body and your mind and the feelings of hopelessness and despair.
There is far more than a casual relationship between the Occupy Movement and the work so many of you are doing to change the criminal justice system.
The same people who make the laws that favor the bankers, make the laws that fill our prisons and detention centers. We have to continue to make the connection between Wall St. and the prison industrial complex. The growth of the private prison industry is just one symptom of this unholy alliance.
I stand in solidarity with the Occupy 4 Prisoners rally and hope these rallies shed further light on the insidious effects of prisons for profit and politics.
Free all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience!
Robert H. King, a.k.a. Robert King Wilkerson, is the only freed member of the Angola 3. Along with his comrades Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace, he was targeted for his activism as a member of the Black Panther party. After 31 years in Angola prison in Louisiana, 29 spent years in solitary confinement, King was released in February 2001. Since that time he has been described as an author, a candy maker, a former political prisoner and an activist. His life’s focus is to campaign against abuses in the criminal justice system and for the freedom of Herman and Albert, who are now serving their 40th year in solitary confinement.