Aging Black Liberation Political Prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz, Bedridden with COVID-19 and Cancer, Shows Us Why PA Must #FreeEmAll

by Suzy Subways

As COVID-19 surges through the state and tears through its prisons, loved ones of incarcerated people are driving to Harrisburg today, calling for Gov. Tom Wolf to use his reprieve power to immediately release all elderly and medically vulnerable people in prison. Loved ones are also asking the Department of Corrections to require prison staff to wear face masks and be tested for COVID-19. As part of a national caravan for health and social justice, the Pennsylvania Poor People’s Campaign worked with local anti-prison groups like the Human Rights Coalition and the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (CADBI) to center the survival of people in prison on this day. The car caravan will circle the state capitol and proceed to the governor’s mansion.

Amid the horror that is the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections right now, Black liberation movement political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz may be one of the best examples of how that horror is playing out for elderly prisoners and their families. Maroon is 77 years old and has been fighting stage 4 colon cancer for over a year. After testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 11, Maroon was held in a gymnasium with 29 other men—and only one toilet to share between them. Meanwhile, he has had blood in his stool, and his urgent surgery for the cancer is now being denied. 

Continue reading “Aging Black Liberation Political Prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz, Bedridden with COVID-19 and Cancer, Shows Us Why PA Must #FreeEmAll”

How to Quit Smoking and How to Not Start Again

By Arielle Horowitz

From PHN Issue 38, Fall 2018

Most smokers know that smoking is bad for their health, but they also know that quitting smoking is not easy. According to the American Lung Association, quitting smoking can be easier if you know your reasons for quitting, talk to a doctor, understand what to expect, and get help. Federal prisons and almost half of state prison systems prohibit smoking cigarettes indoors and outdoors, but more than half of states still allow smoking in prison yards. For those who quit smoking while in prison and are soon to be released, it is important to think about how to not start smoking again outside prison. Continue reading “How to Quit Smoking and How to Not Start Again”

Colorectal Cancer Occurring Earlier

by Darrell L. Taylor

From PHN Issue 34, Fall 2017

In the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS), inmates are not screened for colorectal cancer until the age of 50, regardless of what ethnic group one may belong to. It has been established that people of African origin are at higher risk than other ethnic groups and therefore should be screened at an earlier age, especially if there is a family history. Finding and removing polyps on the inner wall of the colon or rectum can prevent colorectal cancer. Continue reading “Colorectal Cancer Occurring Earlier”

Breast Health and Screening Mammograms

by Erin Tully and PHN staff

From PHN Issue 34, Fall 2017

            Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. While breast cancer is most likely to affect cisgender women, it affects people of all genders. (Cisgender means people whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth.) Mammograms are recommended for people over the age of 40 who have breasts. Continue reading “Breast Health and Screening Mammograms”