2018 PAROLE EFFORTS FOR HERMAN BELL


Herman Bell has been to the New York state parole board 7 times and been denied 7 times. His next parole board appearance will be in February 2018, when he will be 70 years old. At this next appearance, we hope that Herman will have a better chance of being seriously considered and therefore released. New regulations governing parole hearings mandate that an applicant’s risk of recidivism be considered as a “guiding principle” of the hearing. Herman has the very lowest risk score, based on the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s measures. In addition, six new parole commissioners were added to the Board and several, though not all, of the older, law-enforcement connected ones have been retired. The new commissioners are mostly from social service and reentry backgrounds. Personal letters of recommendation and community support can play an important role in Herman’s next hearing.

On September 5th, Herman was brutally assaulted by a group of correctional officers at Great Meadow Correctional Facility. As is most often the case in these incidents, Herman was initially charged with assault on a guard. In fact, Herman had done nothing to provoke this attack – and, furthermore, showed restraint, non-violence, and discipline in the face of brutality. In 95% of the cases in New York where a prisoner is charged with assaulting a guard, the prisoner is convicted and sentenced to box (Security Housing Unit) time. However, the charges against Herman were dropped within a few weeks, as letters of support poured in from all over the world. This is a stark reminder that, while Herman poses no danger to society, his continued imprisonment as an elder subjects him to extreme danger. He needs to come home.

How You Can Help:

[Video] Free Herman Bell

More than 2.4 million human beings are imprisoned in the US.


This massive incarceration-overwhelmingly aimed at people of color and criminalizing youth makes the US by far the greatest purveyor of punishment in the world.


Among these millions are a number of political prisoners, and among these courageous sisters and brothers is Herman Bell. Herman Bell has been a political prisoner in the US for nearly 40 years. When national liberation and revolution rocked the world in the 1960s and 70s, Herman was active in the social justice movements of those times, particularly the Black Liberation movement and the Black Panther Party.

Parole Campaign: Herman Bell

Herman Bell has been to the New York state parole board seven times and has been denied each time.  His last parole board appearance was in 2016.  Each time, the board - always made of up former law enforcement personnel and former prosecutors -- reviews his very impressive record, the Bachelor's and Master's college degrees he has attained since being locked up, his job offers, his numerous letters of support from family, friends, and community members from many walks of life. They have before them evidence of all the ways Herman has helped so many people throughout the course of his confinement and is still leading a positive and progressive life despite being locked up now over four decades.

 

Case Synopsis: Herman Bell

In the aftermath of the murders of Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Dr. King, Fred Hampton, and Mark Clark, to name a few, coupled with the Civil Rights Movement, the burgeoning Black consciousness movement, and the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 1970s, the tone and spirit of those times can be described as highly charged and volatile. And in the wake of what had been perceived as an unambiguous racist policy of police malevolence, willful brutality, excessive use of deadly force and general disrespect of Black people=s rights, scores of policemen at that time were seriously injured or fatally shot in the Black community.

Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners 2017 Calendar

The calendar is a joint fundraising and educational project between outside organizers in Montreal and Toronto, and three political prisoners being held in maximum-security prisons in New York State: David Gilbert, Robert Seth Hayes and Herman Bell. The initial project was suggested by Herman, and has been shaped throughout the process by all of our ideas, discussions, and analysis. All of the members of the outside collective are involved in day-to-day organizing work other than the calendar, on issues ranging from refugee and immigrant solidarity to community media to prisoner justice. We work from an anti-imperialist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, feminist, queer and trans positive position.

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