Prison authorities have finally granted political activist Mark Curtis a small reduction from his one-year lockup sentence inside the maximum security unit of the Iowa State Penitentiary. The committee that approved the reduction cited Curtis's "overall cellhouse demeanor" as "above average."
Curtis's classification committee had recommended sentence reduction in four consecutive meetings amounting to a total of 134 days, meeting the same basic criteria. However, the acting warden vetoed these recommendations.
Supporters of Mark Curtis should take advantage of the recent decision by prison authorities in Iowa by stepping up the campaign to get him out of lockup and to fight for his parole from prison.
Prison authorities have a hard time dealing with the fact that Curtis continues to be a political person in prison and his supporters continue the fight for justice. Every act in Curtis's favor by prison officials is granted grudgingly and bares the political nature of keeping Mark Curtis in jail. Defenders of Curtis should use every opportunity to expose the political victimization involved in his imprisonment and win more support for his case.
From the March for Women's Lives on April 9 in Washington, D.C., to the Labor Notes conference in Detroit April 28-29, to the recent conference in Toronto on the defense of the wrongly convicted, activists for social justice are attracted to Curtis's fight. Today, more youth, workers, and others recognize the injustice that the so- called criminal justice system dishes out every day to working people and fighters like Mark Curtis.
Prison authorities are looking for ways to make life more and more harsh for working people behind bars. From the chain gang slave system of prison labor in Alabama to the denial of voting rights to inmates in New York and other states, prisoners are attempting to resist. Curtis's fight is a part of that struggle too.
Supporters of Curtis should take the small concession
granted by the acting warden and push for more. Curtis's
recent victory in getting prison officials to grant him the
pamphlet Why is Mark Curtis Still in Prison? shows that the
Iowa prison authorities can be pushed back, and that
Curtis's freedom can eventually be won as more working
people move into action and are won to demand justice for
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