Last week the Pennsylvania Legislature fast-tracked the “Revictimization Relief Act” to give virtually unlimited discretion to District Attorneys and the PA Attorney General to silence prisoner speech by claiming such speech causes victims’ families
“mental anguish.” The RRA targets both prisoners’ speech and supporters who distribute the speech.
PA Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) called this law “the most extreme violation of the First Amendment imaginable.” In seeking to silence the legally protected speech of prisoners the state also damages the public’s right and freedom to know at a time when more attention is being focused on mass incarceration and police
brutality. It is an attack on a freedom that must be guarded — especially when and if officials do not agree with the content of speech they hear.
This legislation emerged as a politically-charged response, on the part of the Fraternal Order of Police and its political allies, when they were unable to stop PA prisoner and radio journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal from delivering his October 5 commencement address at Goddard College in Vermont, where Abu-Jamal earned his BA in 1996 while on death row. Students at Goddard collectively chose Abu-Jamal as their commencement speaker and the college administration supported the invitation. In this case, this law would deny the school the right to hear from its alumnus, Abu-Jamal.
With the growing number of executions by the police and vigilantes across the U.S. and the passage of flagrantly unconstitutional laws as seen in Pennsylvania, we the people have to organize collectively in our neighborhoods and in the streets to oppose the increasingly ominous display of rogue state power in Pennsylvania.
For the full statement issued in response to this law and to sign on as endorsers to the call visit: http://www.emajonline.com/2014/10/call-to-action-against-pa-laws-to-silence-prisoners/
For more information
In Philly: 215-724-1618; phillyIAC@gmail.com
In NY: 917-930-0804 bringMumiahome.com