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Articles by Laura Whitehorn

Former Prisoner, Jailhouse Lawyer Mujahid Farid Has Died

by Laura Whitehorn

This issue of Prison Legal News is dedicated to Mujahid Farid.

Farid, 69, who died of cancer on November 20, 2018 in the Bronx, New York, often said he was only one of many people who spend their years in prison learning. Farid obtained his GED while awaiting trial, then earned four college and graduate level degrees in prison. He became a brilliant jailhouse lawyer, suing New York’s prison system for the myriad illegal, brutal punishments they added to his 15-to-life sentence, and often winning.

Denied parole nine times, he was released in 2011 after serving 33 years. While incarcerated he applied his legal brilliance to freeing the long-termers he left behind, founding Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) with other formerly incarcerated people and allies. He received an Open Society Soros Justice Fellowship in 2013, as well as a commendation from New York’s legislature and an award for social activism from Citizens Against Recidivism.

Using his legal acumen, enormous heart and courage, he made RAPP’s mission of releasing elderly prisoners a way to challenge the racist system of permanent punishment that fuels mass incarceration. He inspired formerly incarcerated people, academics, social justice advocates, faith leaders, former ...

Notes from the Unrepenitentiary

Over the past 14+ years of my incarceration, I've been asked repeatedly to describe how I'm treated differently from other prisoners because I'm a political prisoner. It's always been easy to answer, as examples abound. Now, as I approach my mandatory release date of August 6 ...

Notes from the Unrepenitentiary

By Laura Whitehorn

I had thought I'd be gone to a halfway house by now, since I'm only five months from my mandatory release date. But it seems the decision on releasing me has been relegated to "a higher authority." This reminds us, once again, that the u ...

Book Review: Breaking the Walls of Silence

Book review by Laura Whitehorn

Breaking The Walls Of Silence: AIDS and Women in a New Youk State Maximum Security Prison was written by the members of the ACE Program (AIDS Counseling and Education) of Bedford Hills Women's Prison. It is a compelling book which should be read by ...

Notes from the Unrepenitentiary

If all goes well, and my 6-month halfway house is approved, this will be my last column as a prisoner contributor to PLN . This column will be written in the future by my co-defendants and comrades, Marilyn Buck and Linda Evans, both of whom remain in prison, having received longer ...

Notes from the Unrepenitentiary

Arecent issue of PLN called for articles and information from women prisoners. I hope women throughout the state and federal prison systems will respond to this request. If we are ever to change the hideous situations we face at the hands of the prosecutors, judges, and prisoncrats, we must speak ...

Notes from the Unrepenitentiary

On June 1, Rosalind Simpson Moore-Bey died at home in Washington, D.C. To anyone who has passed through the D.C. Jail or CTF (Central Treatment Facility), Roz's name is not only familiar it is well-known. Her name is known, as well, to many prisoners with HIV or ...

Notes from the Unrepenitentiary

Notes From The Unrepenitentiary

By Laura Whitehorn

The Jericho '98 rally in Washington, D.C. on March 27th was, I hope, a step in the direction of freeing all u.s.-held political prisoners and Prisoners of War. Vigorous action of all kinds both domestic and international will be needed ...

Notes from the Unrepenitentiary

Pick up your trumpet, raise your voice: it's time to make noise. 1998 will see two important efforts to win the release of all u.s.-held political prisoners and prisoners of war. These efforts need the support of all justice loving people, all those who stand against the ...

Prisoner Literacy Obscure & Outdated

A news item you might want to use in the paper: Washington Post (Feb. 18, l997) reported that the OMB [a federal budget office] compiled a "secret list" of 254 federal programs that could be cut to save money. They wouldn't release the entire list at that time (I ...