Prison Radio is an outstanding news outlet run by people who believe in incarcerated-citizens’ rights to freedom of speech and freedom of expression and which provides a news medium for prisoners to report what goes on inside prisons.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has targeted Prison Radio for silencing in two ways: by not allowing prisoners to place Prison Radio’s telephone number on their authorized telephone list to contact Prison Radio; and, by a recent telephone-hacking attack that rendered Prison Radio’s telephone inoperable at times over the course of a month.
The PDOC currently denies prisoners’ access to Prison Radio by refusing to place Prison Radio’s phone number on their authorized telephone list, thereby preventing prisoners from calling Prison Radio to freely express their views about prison. The PDOC officials justify their unconstitutional actions of preventing prisoners’ access to Prison Radio with such lame excuses as: “Noelle Hanrahan appears to be the director of Prison Radio, which isnot a radio station…and does not have an FCC license”; or “Ms. Hanrahan’s phone number is already on the approved phone list of another inmate. DC-ADM 8181, Section 2-B-6 prohibits multiple inmates from having the same phone number on their phone list, with certain exceptions—immediate family, news media, etc.”
The PDOC policy 009 permits prisoners to contact the news media, but prison officials are using policy 818—that a phone number on one prisoner’s phone list cannot be on another prisoner’s phone list—to deny prisoners calling Prison Radio. So what the PDOC is doing is effectively preventing 54,999 prisoners from calling Prison Radio to express their views because one prisoner within the PDOC’s 30 prisons has Prison Radio’s phone number on their approved list. This is a blatant violation of incarcerated citizens’ civil rights of freedom to contact the news media, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression.
Recently, throughout the month of February, Prison Radio’s reception of phone calls from within the PDOC were rendered inoperable. We believe this to have been a telephone-hacking attack against Prison Radio by the PDOC because: 1) only the PDOC and Securus phone services company control prisoners’ phone numbers and phone services, but Securus doesn’t have a motive to render Prison Radio’s ability to receive or accept phone calls from prisoners inoperable, while the PDOC does have a motive; 2) Prison Radio was able to receive or accept phone calls from prisoners all across America during that time, while only the phone calls of prisoners within the PDOC were unable to be received; 3) only Mumia Abu-Jamal’s, Shakaboona’s and Bryant Arroyo’s phone calls to Prison Radio were made unable to be received or accepted by Prison Radio personnel; and 4) Securus was perplexed about what was going on and it took them about a month to fix it. Considering the facts, one can logically deduce that, more than likely, Prison Radio was the victim of telephone-hacking by PDOC.
The PDOC views Prison Radio as a threat to its interests of being run by a racist good ol’ boys club, of maintaining its secretive prison operations, and of its money profits derived from free prisoner labor. The PDOC fears that, if the speaking platform that Prison Radio provides to prisoners grows, the more likely their dirty deeds will be exposed before the world.
Ultimately, the PDOC fears Prison Radio exposing them. For exposure leads to public scrutiny; public scrutiny leads to transparency and accountabilityof the PDOC, which leads to the destruction of the PDOC as we know it.
I am Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall, co-founder and editor of The Movement human rights magazine, Prison Radio Correspondent and Child Lifer prisoner. I can be reached at:
SCI Rockview, Box-A
Bellefonte, PA 16823