An Interview with Michael Kimble

Questions from the Certain Days collective, answered by Michael in November 2021 and January 2022.

1. How many years have you done total, and what institutions have you been housed in?

My name is Michael Kimble and I’m a gay, Black anarchist serving a life sentence for the murder of a white, racist, homophobe. I’ve served 36 years to date and became politicized while in prison, first as a revolutionary nationalist and then I became and embraced anarchy in 1994, and have been on that path ever since.

2. What is a typical daily or weekly routine like for you?

My daily routine changes according to what prison I’m at. But I normally wake up around 3:00 a.m., read a little until breakfast at 4:00 a.m., come back and watch the news program until 8:00 a.m. when yard-time is called. But right now, I’m back at Donaldson and there really is no yard-time. At other prisons I usually walk or run until 10:00 a.m., take a shower and head to lunch around 11:00-11:30 a.m.. After lunch I’m politicing with a few guys. The rest of the day is filled with reading, exercising, watching a little TV, and kicking it with guys. At Holman, most of my time after lunch is spent in the leathershop until 10:00 p.m..

3. When first arriving at prison did you feel mentally prepared? Did you have support at first?

Initially, I did not think I was mentally prepared because I really didn’t know what to expect upon entering prison. I don’t think one can really be prepared for prison. But I did have family, and family support mainly from my mother.

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Solidarity and Making Some Noise

“When you see something that is not right, not just, not fair you have a moral obligation to say something. To do something. Never, ever, be afraid to make some noise and get in good, necessary trouble.” – John Lewis

One of the weapons/tools that we use in showing solidarity with prisoners who are active in destroying the Prison Industrial Slave Complex (PISC) is letter campaigns, faxes, phone zaps, and email messaging. We use these weapons/tools in response to the repression and abuse taking place in the prisons. These tools/weapons have proven to be effective in many instances in aiding prisoners in being released from solitary confinement, stopping the prisoncrats from tampering with prisoners’ mail, medical help, transfers, etc.

Remember, you are out there in the so-called free-world. Don’t allow fear of authority to paralyze you into inaction. They are already oppressing us in here. The only thing that will stop that repression, oppression and persecution is your ability to act, express your righteous indignation and bringing light to their bullshit. If you are unable to put your fear of authority to the side, kill the police in your head, you may as well join in the oppression, persecution, and repression.

Because you are not doing anything in helping us in the prisons, but in reality aiding the PISC through your silence.

Make some noise!

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I Didn’t Take the Shots and Here’s Why

In 1945, as part of the US government’s effort to develop nuclear weapons, a number of medical officers working in conjunction with the Army Corp. of Engineers engaged in research concerning the effects exposure to radioactive substances had on the human body. As part of this study, Dr. Stafford L. Warren, the Chief Medical Officer of the US Army Corp. of Engineer’s “Manhattan Engineer District,” and Dr. Hymer L. Fridell, Warren’s deputy, ordered that human subjects be injected with plutonium so that the effects of the radiation on them could be evaluated.

As part of this study, Janet Stadt, who was 41 years of age at the time, was admitted to the University of Rochester Hospital in Feb. of 1946. Stadt was told that she was being treated for schleroderma, a serious, but not life threatening disease. On March 9, 1946, after spending approximately 20 days in the hospital, Stadt was injected with 6.5 micrograms of plutonium and studied for 65 days thereafter while remaining as a patient in the hospital. Stadt never gave her doctors permission to inject her with plutonium. Stadt suffered intense pain caused by severe bone degeneration and laryngeal cancer.

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No Freedom! Parole Update from Anarchist Prisoner Michael Kimble

On December 16th, 2021 I was considered for parole during an open hearing. I was denied and hit with another 5 years before being considered again for parole. The reasons given to my attorney and supporters, who attended the hearing on my behalf with certificates of achievement and the many letters of recommendation from supporters, as well as my employment plan which was in proper order, was that I had disciplinary citations for refusing to work and an assault on a correctional officer who had been harassing me. (That correctional officer was subsequently fired for smuggling contraband into the prison.)

My attorney and supporters also sat in on other prisoners’ hearings taking place that day, and they say that no one was granted parole on this day. Some of these prisoners had disciplinary free records, support systems, etc. but still were denied parole.

I’m angry and bitter about the denial, but not really surprised about it. The Alabama Parole Board has been in the news lately about the refusal to grant parole to prisoners who have been incarcerated for 20 to 30 years or more and the racial disparity in who gets parole and who doesn’t. Last fiscal year, 23 percent of white prisoners were considered for parole, but only 9 percent of black prisoners. In fiscal year 2017, 54 percent of parole requests were granted. This was a high rate for Alabama. By the fiscal year that ended in June, the approval rate was just 15 percent. So far in fiscal year 2022, the rate is 10 percent. The current parole board is led by Leigh Gwaffney, a former prosecutor. Other members include a former probation officer and a state trooper. Victims of Crime and Leniency (VOCAL), an influential victims group, sends volunteers to testify against nearly every prisoner up for parole. A representative from the State Attorney General’s office does the same.

Only 4 of the 31 prisoners up for parole in late September were granted. Just 29 prisoners – representing 8 percent of requests – got parole that month. It really does not matter what one has done while incarcerated to rehabilitate themselves – they are being denied. The reality is that the denials are about revenge, racism, the housing of bodies for social control, and profits for the state (slavery).

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Do Prison Lives Matter?

In recent years we’ve seen the explosion of what is termed the Prison Movement.

We’ve seen unprecedented and massive rebellions in the form of workstrikes, hunger strikes, riots, sabotage, and other kinds of revolt. We saw unprecedented allies on the outside getting involved. We’ve seen the trajectory go from simply better conditions to abolition. Then came the calls for a national prison organization (centralization, hierarchy) to coordinate (control) these rebellions from the specialists in revolution. In spite of all of this, we are overlooking the contradictions in the prisons among the prisoners themselves and I think we will be fools to continue to look past these contradictions.

If the spontaneous self-organizing and actions have caused unprecedented chaos to the Prison Industrial Slave Complex (PISC) we see today (they are hurting), why would you try to gain control of it? These are just my thoughts and opinions, but if we do organize a national prison organization with a constitution, by-laws, etc. we will be setting up for failure and not abolition, but reform.

First, are we for abolition or reform? Most prisoners are not for the abolition of the PISC. They believe in the system. They just want better treatment/conditions. They instruct the system on how it can be better. Most prisoners are authoritarian and can’t see or imagine a world without police, authority, or prisons. Most prisoners who are fighting to change this current system do not question authority, only who wields that authority.

I can easily sit back, do what these pigs say (conform), not complain about anything, but that will do violence to my soul.

I can easily sit back, mind my own business, but most likely another prisoner will not allow me to do that.

There’s a real possibility that I can lose my life in this prison by the hands of these pigs, but most likely it will be lost by the hands of another prisoner.

Look at how we living in these prisons.

We constantly complain about how these pigs are mistreating us inside of these prisons, but let’s look at how we are treating each other in these prisons.

Here in Alabama the US Dept. of Justice released a two-part report on its investigation into Alabama’s men’s prisons. Their findings was just horrific. Rampant gang violence, prisoner on prisoner deaths, stabbings, assaults, extortion, rape, etc. This shit is crazy, because it’s all true. And we prisoners think this something to brag about just like guys be bragging about what city has the highest murder rate.

THE GANGSTA ERA

Do Prison Lives Matter? We treat each other worse than the pigs do. We beat, kill, extort, rape, etc. each other and call it gangsta (meaning cool). We have 60+ year old men sleeping on floors because someone bigger, younger, stronger, or connected want a bottom bunk or a bunk by the window. It’s true, some have sold their bunks for drugs. Then you have guys intentionally staying in prison, refusing work release and parole just to make money. It’s sad and crazy at the same time.

And we talking about building a national prisoner organization. We need to be building new relationships among each other. Simply being in prison does not make one a revolutionary.

Until we force new, healthy relationships based on respect – not fear; love – not hate; based not on where one is geographically from, what gang we claim, what ethnic group we belong to, what religion or sect, nothing is going to change for the better, and abolition is definitely not going to happen.

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Michael has been transferred

Please consider sending Michael a letter as he adjusts to being transferred to a new facility.

Michael Kimble
#138017
William E. Donaldson Correctional
100 Warrior Ln
Bessemer, AL 35023

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Call to Action for Michael Kimble

Michael Kimble is a political prisoner from Birmingham, AL. At the age of 21, he and a friend were holding hands in public one night, and were violently attacked by a known racist and homophobe. Michael defended himself and his friend, which resulted in the attacker being killed in self defense. Michael is serving a life sentence (with parole as an option) and has now been held in Alabama’s prison system for 35 years.

Michael was assaulted by Officer Thomas at Easterling Correctional on June 19th, 2021 and is now being held in solitary confinement. Please join us in demanding his release from solitary, as well as the reinstatement of his parole hearing, which was skipped over in February with no notice of rescheduling.

CALL AND LEAVE A MESSAGE FOR
WARDEN CROWE AT 334-397-4471

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Emergency Prison Phone Zap

Alabama prison rebels have reported brutal retaliation and beatings by guards at Easterling Correctional.

Please call Warden John Crow to request a welfare check for prisoners Brandon Oden and James Pratt, to let the administration know that people outside are paying attention, and the discourage further abuse.

(334) 397-4471

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Investigation of Alabama’s State Prisons

Two reports on the conditions of Alabama’s prison system. Commentary by Michael forthcoming.

Investigation of Alabama’s State Prisons for Men (April 2019)

Alabama Excessive Force Findings (July 2020)

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OUTTA HOLMAN!

I’m outta Holman! Back in December 2019 I was placed in lockup for assault on a guard. I had come to the aid of another prisoner who was being assaulted by a guard.

I was threatened with physical harm by this guard and I immediately alerted my supporters and comrades who started a phone zap demanding that I be transferred. In January I was released back into general population without any disciplinary infraction for the assault, and in early February I was transferred to my present location at Easterling. Easterling is a medium security prison. It’s the only no smoking prison in the state of Alabama. The prisoners here are a lot less rebellious than those prisoners at the maximum security prisons. Prisoners at Easterling tend to have less time to do than those at max. prisons.

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