Students Take on Mass Incarceration

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Despite the countless articles detailing the supposed apathy of the millennial generation, political activism is still alive and well on today’s college campuses. Of note is the growing number of chapters of Students Against Mass Incarceration (SAMI). SAMI first started at Howard University in 2011 and has since expanded to schools throughout the U.S., including Columbia University, Mount Holyoke College and Morgan State University.

While much of SAMI’s early activism organized around the execution of Troy Davis, more recent efforts are focused on getting its anti-prison message out through alternative mass media, including spots on BlogTalkRadio, the production of “mix tapes” and a “radio takeover” for Voxunion. According to an article in The Daily Collegian, “(SAMI) is a student organization dedicated to exploring issues of political prisoners and promotes awareness on the controversial structure of the United States prison system.” Furthermore, SAMI links the practice of mass incarceration “to both the attempt to socially control people of color and to accumulate profits for both private and public prison institutions.”

Howard University student protesters at Troy Davis rally. Image courtesy of the Guardian UK

Howard University students at Troy Davis rally. Image courtesy of the Guardian UK

Through its activism and organizing, SAMI champions the abolition of the current prison system, favoring a restorative approach, which addresses those issues which contribute to the economic and social disenfranchisement of African Americans. To learn more about SAMI’s work and how to create a local chapter visit their website:

by Ian Morlan

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  1. Available at Barnes & Noble:
    Black Prison Movements USA
    by Network of Black Organizers -N O B O (Editor) in 1995

    The Network Of Black Organizers (NOBO) has gathered the first contemporary collection of Black Prison Movement voices, covering topics ranging from women in prison, the pro and con of parole, behavior modification and human experimentation in prison, Puerto Rican and other political prisoners, to the prison economy industrial complex. Inside is a startling collection of writings from behind prison walls as well as from those of us, outside “In Prison,” who are struggling for prison reform and revolutionary social change in the United States.

    ISBN-13: 9780865434899
    Publisher: Africa World Press
    Publication date: 8/28/1995
    Edition description: New Edition
    Pages: 185
    Product dimensions: 5.53 (w) x 8.47 (h) x 0.62 (d)

    Table of Contents
    A Brief History of the New Afrikan Prison Struggle 1
    Severed Ties; The Incarcerated Mother 27
    Apocalypse 4Ever 33
    From The Realm of The Dead 36
    Straight From the Heart 41
    No Turn Backs 45
    Message of Pow’s and Political Prisoners to Nelson Mandela 49
    The NOBO Interview: Are High Tech Operatives Among Us? 52
    Primer to Counterinsurgency and Low Intensity Warfare 60
    Long Term Parole 80
    Hot Iced A.M. Nite 85
    On Refusing Parole 86
    Non-Traditional Approach to Criminal and Social Justice 92
    When Basketball Isn’t Enough 106
    Race, Class and Incarceration – The Political Economy of Prisons 108
    Friday Afternoon 125
    Spare a Little Change 126
    Political Prisoners 127
    Communication Soaks Through Thirsty Soil 135
    Conditions of Confinement – Cruel and Unusual Punishment for Black Political Prisoners 137
    Patriotic Hypocrisy 149
    A Major Step in Genocide; The Crime Bill 150
    Women on Death Row 156
    After a Long Time 162
    I Can’t Promise Anything: Struggling in Puerto Rico 163
    In the Tradition 169
    This is For 82B2034 & 77A4283 179
    NOBO Numbers 186


  2. michael alle

     /  August 7, 2013

    I am a rally organizer for a grass roots org called End Mass Incarceration, see us on fb…I am involved with some associates in holding rallies and events in St Louis, Little Rock and Houston…we need your help and support to grow this and to show ‘them’ that we are EVERYWHERE! Help us help you help those caught up in this corrupted evil system. I can be reached at Michael Allen fb, look for the pissed of infant. contact me, lets talk, its time we all STAND UP AND FIGHT BACK…ma



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