Thousand Kites Launches National Criminal Justice Project

Thousand Kites is a community-based multimedia project that advocates reforms to the US criminal justice system, using live performances, film screenings, radio broadcasts and the Internet. This month they hope to arrange a hundred screenings of the documentary “Up the Ridge”, a film about one community’s experience using prisons as economic development and the resulting human rights violations.

“Up the Ridge” takes you inside the super-maximum-security Wallens Ridge prison in Virginia, and looks at the personal devastation and racial conflicts that resulted when hundreds of thousands of inner-city minority prisoners were transferred to this rural facility, far from their families and neighborhoods. Click here to order the film, which comes with a guide to setting up a community screening, and other bonus tracks.

This outreach effort supports the American Friends Service Committee’s STOPMAX Campaign to abolish torture and solitary confinement in US prisons. Read prisoners’ own stories of physical and mental abuse at the STOPMAX Voices blog.

“I was strapped into a restraint chair for a few hours or so just to harass me. I have seen people forced to relieve themselves in their clothes because staff refused to let them go to the bathroom while strapped in the chair and also chained to various tables in waiting/holding areas. They would be screaming and begging to be allowed to go to the bathroom and staff would not let them. That is why I attempted suicide. I was done with watching the beatings, torture, and horror and done with the harassment 24-7 and the continuous torment and torture- fingers wrenched out of joint while applying handcuffs, handcuffs clamped in the skin against the bone, the leg chains clamped on so tight that my feet turned purple, constant various threats by staff, being woke up all during the night for various reasons- to deliver mail at 2AM, deliver the paper at 3AM, wake me up to ask me if I am asleep at 4AM. I was done.” –Prisoner in Maricopa 4th Ave Jail, Arizona

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