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  • Kormányzati név: Omar Austin
  • Nyilvántartási szám: 204603C
  • Életkor:31
  • Idő szolgált:óta 2001
  • Home Town:Newark, NJ
  • Mondat:60 év + 7 egymást követő év
  • Aktuális töltési:Double Murder
  • Álnév:K.O.
  • Release Date:2043
  • Prison Munkahely:Vér (Bálint)
  • Circle of Influence:Altariq Gumbs, Lester Alford, Brown Skin, Tewhan Butler,
  • Intézmény:East Jersey State Prison (Rahway)
  • Ha egy igazi G nem tudja lebeszélni youngins, rendben van, megvan ya út, de legalább hadd prep, hogy az út.

Solitary confinement activists spur reform in New Jersey

A section of the mural on New Jersey State Prison’s wall along Cass Street in Trenton

In the mid-1980s, the American Friends Service Committee’s Prison Watch Program received a letter from Ojore Lutalo who had just been placed in the Management Control Unit at New Jersey State Prison. He asked what a control unit was, why he was there and how long he would have to stay. Some of the answers would unfold over the next 22 év. Ojore, other prisoners held in the MCU and AFSC’s Bonnie Kerness formed the Control Unit Monitoring Project, which led to a national network of monitors and advocates in the 90’s called The National Campaign to Stop Control Unit Prisons. Since that time, the UN Committee on Torture, the Pope and the UN special Rappateur on Torture have all condemned the US prison practice of “no touch” torture, identifying imprisonment in extended isolation as torture, which violates the US ratified Convention Against Torture. Work on this issue has continued in NJ since that time, growing in the NJ Coalition Against Isolation Confinement. That coalition, which includes AFSC’s Bonnie Kerness, Jean Ross from the People’s Organization for Progress and Alex Shalom from the NJACLU, was approached by Senator Ray Lesniak to assist in the writing of his bill on isolation, which was introduced this year as S. 2588. If you are a New Jersey resident, call your legislators and urge them to support bill S. 2588.

Omar Austin who was held in solitary confinement for 12+ év, more than a third of his life, updates the public on the changes taking place.

So they freed about four prisoners from the Management Control Unit (MCU) at New Jersey State Prison in October 2014– 1 Crip from California, 1 Mexican Mafia member, 1 Five-Percenter, and a Blood brother. Following that four Muslim brothers and one Dominican national were released. The big question among prisoners was would they really let K.O. (me) out. Most said if prison officials let me out they were serious about change. I did not trust in the process nor did I believe I would be released from the MCU. I felt it was long shot that I would be released and not with my luck. I stayed charge free. I even told all the homies who write me to fall back. Then my hearing came. I went into the room sweating like a crackhead in the sun with a leather coat on. I was nervous, anxious and skeptical. Prison officials told me that I would hear something in seventy-two (72) hours. I started to feel positive. I began to think it was my time to breathe. Then a superior came to my cell to deliver my paper which read: Phase 4: Release into Population. Pending 90-day Probationary Observation.

Wow!! I read that shit like 100 times. I slept with it close by. One time I misplaced it, and I almost exploded as I searched for it in my cell. Then the wretchedness of the circumstance kicked in. My homeboys! Duke, my brother from another who is the founder of 7 Thug Life Bloods; I went to his door to tell him that I would be leaving him behind. He was happy, but I was sad knowing that we may never see each other again. Our journey was taking us in different directions. In this day and age a real friend is equal to a million dollars or more.

The day I was packed up to move to a population tier in New Jersey State Prison (Unit 2-A) I was choked up saying goodbye to my workout partners, my confidants, my unconditional homies like Ju (Grimy), Tef, Bomani, Jo-, Duke, Rude Boy, and Red Eyez.

At first being on Unit 2-A was a culture shock, and damn, it would all get more interesting. My name and reputation beat me to the unit of course, so I had no challenges or test to pass. The homies were excited to finally get to know the ghost they had only heard of, whether good or bad. The Muslims embraced me and the in-betweeners were respectful and courteous. The Corrections Officers were skeptical but rather polite and exceptionally respectful, except the tough guy COs standing in the central pass-area located in the West Compound. The West Compound is oldest area of New Jersey State Prison. I believe it was built in the 1800s. I stayed in Unit 2-A for ninety (90) days and waited for my final hearing to determine my next step. The entire time I was there I wanted to leave. I wanted to get to Rahway’s maximum security prison [East Jersey State Prison]. Trenton [New Jersey Állami Börtön] felt like a cemetery. Most of the prisoners have life sentences or have done crazy time and are now elderly and walk with canes on sore limbs. Their wisdom is a gold mine.

I have learned more from word of mouth in Trenton than anywhere else in my entire life.

The homies and Muslims wanted me to stay in Trenton to help situate the conditions among prisoners. When I weighed that against what was necessary in New Jersey’s other prisons, it did not compare. The opportunity to be around the young brothers, the baby boys who are fresh off the streets, who were all over the news for carjackings, gyilkosságok, and more, and help get them right was more important to me. These lil dudes are who I ride for. The opportunity to enlighten them, to instill hope within them, is the opportunity to redeem a generation and redefine generations after.

My ninety (90) days were coming to a close and I had my hearing.

“Good morning Mr. Austin,” said Ms. Betty Norris. She is the African-American woman administrator who now oversees everything concerning the MCU. I must say it was inspiring to see her in her position. You go girl! She asked me how I was doing and how I had been. I answered fine. I knew they were keeping tabs on me every step of the way. Prison rats and COs reported on me daily. I was then asked what prison I would like to be transferred to if I could. I answered without hesitation, “Rahway!” Meglepően, they sounded really receptive and positive about it. 2 days later I was in my bed after a long, hard workout, falling asleep while watching a piece on the National Geographic channel about some Marines who were penned down by Taliban fighters when the lieutenant came to my cell. They opened my door and before I could jump up they began to search my cell. I knew it was not a random search because superiors do not participate in random searches. They wanted to read my mail and my literature to make sure I was not in possession of any Security Threat Group (STG) material that I could use to incite the brothers at Rahway. They were sending me to Rahway after all. I did not know what to expect at Rahway, but I was enthusiastic about starting another phase in my journey.

Stay tuned for more on my transition out of solitary confinement.


One response to “Solitary confinement activists spur reform in New Jersey”

  1. […] Omar Austin shares his experience leaving solitary confinement in the Management Control Unit at NJ State Prison and his arrival at Rahway State Prison. Click here to read previous post. […]

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