Springfield Man in Prison Since 1985 for Crime He Did Not Commit?

Chris Fabricant is a lawyer and former professor of law in New York City. He works for the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization that has freed 329 people in the USA from prison by proving they did not commit the crime they were imprisoned for. Each of those people spent an average of 14 years in prison. Seventeen of the people who were freed had been sentenced to death but were freed before the government could execute them.

Workers' Victories

Hundreds of workers in the Valley will be getting raises and a new union contract. On February 19, leaders of two unions that represent around 1,700 land-line telephone and internet workers in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine said they had reached an agreement for a new contract with Fairpoint Corporation. The workers have been on strike since October.

Photos: Holyoke March Against Police Killings, Racism

On December 12 in Holyoke, there was a march to protest recent killings of unarmed black men by white police officers around the nation. At the head of the march, people carried a sign that read, "Black lives matter."

Photos of the march are below. To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image."

photos by Joe Oliverio

Eviction Protest Is November 18 in Springfield

Activists are asking the public to attend a rally outside the home of a low income man in Springfield who is being threatened with eviction. The bank that wants to evict Jeff Solivan is Fannie Mae Corporation, whose CEO was paid $6 million in 2010, the most recent year for which data was available.

The rally is set for November 18 at 9 a.m. at 32 Edgemont Street in Springfield. The group that is organizing the rally has a web site at www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org.

Prisoner Uprising

A private corporation that runs a prison in Arizona where the state of Vermont sends some of its prisoners tried to keep secret an uprising by the Vermonters. The prisoners broke TVs and microwave ovens to protest harsh conditions in the prison. It is more difficult for the prisoners' family and friends to visit them in Arizona then if they were kept in a prison in Vermont. Experts say this means it will be harder for them to find jobs and a place to live when they get out. Ultimately, they are more likely to end up in jail again.

Northampton Nurses Rally Is September 30

Nurses in Northampton will hold a rally against forced overtime at the hospital, September 30 from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. The public is invited. “Cooley Dickinson continues to place its desire for profits ahead of its concern for patients and those who care for them,” said Sally Surgen, a nurse at Cooley Dickinson hospital.

“Our position on overtime benefits is not a financial issue, it is an issue of patient safety. Studies show that the use of overtime as a staffing tool is detrimental to patient care, leading to an increase in medical errors,” she said.

13 Arrested at Hartford McDonalds Strike

In Hartford, Connecticut, police arrested 13 people for non-violent civil disobedience at a protest at a McDonalds restaurant September 4. The workers were asking for their wages to be raised to $15 an hour. Hartford is about half an hour from Springfield, Massachusetts by car, Amtrak, or Greyhound.

Around the USA on September 4, thousands of fast food workers went on strike, and about 500 were arrested.

Photos: Seven Arrested at Springfield Rally

On August 22, police arrested seven people for non-violent civil disobedience in Springfield. They were protesting the decision by a bank that pays its CEO millions of dollars a year to force a low-income family out of their home. The protest was organized by www.SpringfieldNoOneLeaves.org.

To enlarge a photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image."

photos by Joe Oliverio

100 at Amherst Rally for Michael Brown

On August 16 in Amherst, more than 100 people attended a rally to call for accountability for the white policeman who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed, 18-year-old African American in Missouri one week earlier. Witnesses say Brown was standing with his hands raised above his head when Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed him.

The Amherst rally was organized by the Amherst chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The chapter has a web site with e-mail and postal mail addresses at:

Prison Population Soars; Activists Fight Back

The prison population in Massachusetts and Vermont has grown much faster than the population of those states in recent years, according to an investigation by The Valley Post. Between 2005 and 2014, the number of people in state prison in Massachusetts increased by 9 percent, while the state's population increased by less than half of 1 percent.

Between 2003 and 2013, the number of people in state prison in Vermont increased by 10 percent, while the state's population increased by 1 percent.

The New Hampshire prison population has remained relatively stable over the past decade.