Kevin “Rashid” Johnson is a New Afrikan Communist prison organizer
and intellectual in the United States and one of the founders of the
NABPP-PC (New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter). He has spent
most of his adult life in the prison system and continually been
subjected to political repression and violence in retaliation for his
organizing efforts. He is currently held at Snake River Correctional
Inst in Oregon.
A supporter recently received a very distressing letter informing us
that Rashid was in a serious medical situation, and was not receiving
adequate care. Details from this letter were circulated online, however
are currently being removed in order to respect Rashid’s privacy.
On February 22, a lawyer managed to speak to Rashid. This was an
invaluable first step, as up until then all we had to go by was a letter
from a third party, which was already dated by the time it was
The good news is that new x-rays have confirmed that there are no
razor-blades in his system and there is apparently no longer blood in
his urine. Furthermore, Rashid is now drinking liquids.
According to the lawyer, the two biggest concerns currently are (1)
that Rashid receive proper medical monitoring as he gets back to a
normal diet, and (2) that he be allowed to receive his mail (which he
says has been accumulating for more than a week in a box within sight of
Rashid explained to the lawyer that he currently has no access to his
personal property and mail. Officials have placed him on a security
designation that precludes access to these things, so he is unable to
contact anyone or publish anything. He believes this is in retaliation
for articles he published that are critical of the Oregon Department of
Corrections. The pretext that the officials are using to put him on
this status is an alleged incident on January 28, 2012, even though he
was cleared of any misconduct in that incident after a disciplinary
hearing. Furthermore, deprivation of property and mail is not
reasonably related to the alleged incident.
Rashid thinks thinks the best people to contact would be Doug
Yancey, the security threat manager for the Oregon Department of
Corrections, and C. Schultz, the security threat manager at Snake River.
They are the ones who made this decision to deprive him of his personal
As soon as we have phone numbers for Yancey and Schultz, we will post them here.
Apart a brief period in general population when he was transferred
from Virginia to Oregon last tear, Rashid has spent close to twenty
years in solitary isolation, as a direct result of his activities
resisting abuse in various Virginia prisons in the 1990s, and to his
political writings and articles documenting ongoing abuse in the prison
system since then. Long-term isolation was developed during the Cold War
as a method to neutralize political prisoners, both by cutting them off
from the outside world, and by inflicting conditions upon them that are
designed to inflict severe psychological/emotional distress.
Isolation imprisonment has been described as “clean torture,” for it
does its damage without leaving any visible wounds. As Craig Haney of
the University of California at Santa Cruz has noted, “There is not a
single published study of solitary or supermax-like confinement in which
nonvoluntary confinement lasting for longer than 10 days, where
participants were unable to terminate their isolation at will, that
failed to result in negative psychological effects. The damaging effects
ranged in severity and included such clinically significant symptoms as
hypertension, uncontrollable anger, hallucinations, emotional
breakdowns, chronic depression, and suicidal thoughts and behavior.”
We see both aspects of the isolation-torture regimen playing
themselves out in Rashid’s case. He is currently cut off from the
outside world, deprived of his mail and of any easy means of informing
us of what is going on with him, so that we need to rely on
communications from third parties. At the same time, he continues to be
held in conditions that are known and intended to be detrimental to his
health and recovery.
We will continue to keep you abreast of the situation as it develops.