Tamms Year Ten

New site by Frank Edwards
March 12, 2008, 4:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This site will no longer be updated, please check YearTen.org for updates from the Tamms Year Ten Campaign.

Press Conference/New Endorsers by ljhopes
March 7, 2008, 9:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Friday, MARCH 7 at 9am and 8pm.
Listen to the show Eight Forty-Eight on WBEZ which is 91.5 FM.
The show airs at 9am, and then again at 8pm.

Thanks and blessings to everyone who attended the press conference. There were 56 people and even some press (5 members of the press).Afterwards, a TY10 spokesperson Stephen Eisenman (who has written about torture) was on the Cliff Kelley show on WVON for 30 minutes!

People discussed all aspects of this atrocity. Stephen Eisenman, author of The Abu-Ghrab Effect, detailed the facts about Tamms, and why prolonged isolation is condemned as torture. There were powerful accounts from Larry, Jerome and Akkeem, three men who spent years in Tamms—and were among the first to arrive. As always, they are the most persuasive reason to stop this prison from operating. They even gave us insights that we hadn’t heard before–and Akkeen held up awesome placards (he is always reminding us to be visual). Jean Maclean Snyder gave us a legal reality check about this place–and who said an attorney can’t give a rousing speech? Mary L. Johnson spoke about her son who has been in Tamms for ten years–and what it has done to his family. She said it is like visiting a tomb to see him behind the glass wall, but when someone dies, at least you can touch the body. She called for everyone to use the love and higher power God has given them to help the sons of other people.

Audience members spoke, and poets performed.
–Doris talked about her visit to Tamms with Rep. Lou Jones, and the scratch marks on the plexi-glass of a room where they keep mentally ill people when they first arrive
–Denise talked about prisoners not being allowed to use the bathroom if they need to in the middle of a visit (many prisoners have urinated while shackled on the concrete stool rather than end a visit with a loved one)
–A man spoke about the control-unit at Marion to put Tamms in a historical context nationally, and in Illinois
–Sharon spoke about inhumane visitation policies–searching cars and denying non-contact visits
–Jim Chapman said we give the IDOC too much credit. They are totally broke and don’t know what they are doing
–After the press conference, Richard Wallace blew us away with his spoken word poems, accompanied by an incredible singer.
–Baba Griot got up to read, and first honored a man explaining that it is a Swahili practice to ask permission to read from an elder. He read in Swahili before he performed poetry about Tamms. It was a privilege to hear him!

We need volunteers for upcoming Year Ten events, and for the ones in April. Let us know if you are coming and want to help! Actually, we need volunteers for everyhing you can think of! And Sheelah of our sponsoring group RATIO needs volunteers right now–people who can help them install (hammer, drill, saw, hold items) the work. And people who are not shy about performing.

We need to encourage our elected officials in both houses of General Assembly to attend the House Prison Reform Committee Hearings on Tamms C-MAX. This is what we want–for our representatives to come hear the facts about Tamms C-MAX. We will be asking you to join us in calling your legislators, and if you have personal relations with them already, all the better. Teaching them about the issue long before we call for legislation is the way to gather support for this–no reason to take them by surprise. Plus, elected officials need “the protection” of knowing that there is public concern about it. A little bit of your effort here will make a huge difference.

We are at the point in this campaign where we cannot grow without you. Please introduce this campaign to other individuals, groups and organizations–and help us figure out how we can work together on this. We need your solidarity and networking action.

We are honored to have the endorsement of Man and Women in Prison Ministries–thank you. Please let us know of other groups who would like to endorse.

And now we have six art groups! What other political campaign can say that? (CAFF, Temporary Services, Feel Tank Chicago, Anti Gravity Surprise, Chicago County Fair and Insight Arts) CAFF is working with us in so many ways–what comrades we have in Cheap Art for Freedom!

Good news by ljhopes
February 25, 2008, 7:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

April 28-Monday-10AM-4PM.
Illinois House Prison Reform Committee Hearings on Tamms
James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL 60601

Having the hearings set is a big step forward–now we can channel everyone at every event to attend the hearings!

Tamms letter-writing event and kick-off for Supermax Subscriptions.
March 8–Saturday–6PM-8:30PM.

Mess Hall. 6932 N Glenwood Ave, Chicago, IL 60626
The new project called Supermax Subscriptions is a collaboration between Temporary Services, Tamms Poetry Committee and Sara Ross. Supermax Subscriptions asks people to use their surplus frequent flyer miles to give the gift of a yearly magazine subscription to a person in a supermax prison–we are starting with Tamms.

If anyone wants to schedule a little music for this event, we could be entertained while we sign letters!

3. STATEVILLE SPEAKS totally dedicated to Tamms.
The publication written in collaboration between prisoners and the outside is dedicating a short special March issue to Tamms. All our events and endorsers are listed. This is a great publication–it engages with complex and challenging subjects–and free to prisoners. (If you aren’t subscribed, tell us.) The edition that just came out is about the impact of crime on victims.

Dean Rank made us a beautiful poster for the blues/jazz benefit and Screwball Press screened it for free. Thank you! All organized by Tom and Kent.

Saturday meetings report by ljhopes
February 10, 2008, 7:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Meetings on Saturday, Feb 9:

SOUTH SIDE ORGANIZING MEETING: Over 20 people attended the organizing meeting on the south side. We had introductions, updates, and energetic discussion. We heard testimony from family and ex-prisoners and debated both campaign and press strategy. We planned a next meeting for February 23, Saturday at 10am.

NORTH SIDE ARTISTS MEETING: Then, later on the north side, 10 artists brainstormed, discussed and planned events at Elastic Arts, Funky Buddha, Proletarian Productions, and an Unseen Labor Installation by RATIO. Wow. They also talked about coordinating publication, and the need to obtain audio and video testimony.

Updates by ljhopes
February 10, 2008, 7:19 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

We are so relieved that two great legislators on the Prison Reform Committee won their primary elections yesterday. Thye are independent thinkers who care about rehabilitation and lowering recidivism, and are willing to fight for people–like prisoners and their families–who aren’t going to bring them a lot of money or votes.

We are creating a list of organizations who back our mission and would like us to list their name in solidarity with this effort. If you know any such organization, please ask them to join the Year Ten coalition! Or feel free to direct us about how we might propose this to the group. We would love to have some prison ministries and ex-offender ministries and churches on the list. See the list of endorsers.

There is an official totally lovely website underway thanks to Dave, Dmitry and the Crossroads Fund. In the meantime we have this wordpress site which is getting fatter and healthier every day thanks to Frank who is also busy doing a ton of other stuff, as is Toussaint who has been researching!

Kristen and Donna cranked out a grant application to RESIST!

Jacob Juntunen wrote an original play about Tamms! Expect more details soon about when it will be at Prop Thtr.

Temporary Services, Sara Ross and Tamms Poetry Committee are working on the magazine drive to get a magazine subscription for each Tamms prisoner–by asking people to buy magazines with their Frequent Flyer points! Marc actually called the prison and went through the list of magaiznes with the mailroom–which is so awesome!

7. Larry, Ruby, Reggie, Melvin
As always, we are honored to be working with these men who spent years in Tamms, and are now on the outside doing great things and taking the time to help the guys who are still there. As you know already from meeting them, these men are the best argument that Tamms should be closed–and there can be no campaign without them. If you know anyone else from Tamms, please let us know.

8. MORE YEAR TEN EVENTS ORGANIZED! (Thank you Amy, Cynthia, Tom, Joe, Kent, Kristen, Stephen) See the event list! And just wait until you see the poster that Dean Rank is making for the blues benefit!

Media by Frank Edwards
February 3, 2008, 7:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

So we’re compiling all of the Tamms associated media we can find. You’ll find some of it (compiled by one of our outstanding researchers) in the press section. We’ll be getting some more up as soon as we format it. If you know of any Tamms coverage, research about solitary/supermaxes, or anything else you think might be helpful, pass it on to us at YearTen(at)riseup.net.