Control units in NY and PA

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[Control Units] [Pennsylvania]
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Control units in NY and PA

I see that comrades are working on producing a movie that exposes the corruption which is taking place in control units all over the country. Hence, I would like to take the time out to touch on some of the things that I've seen and experienced in these types of confinements.

I've done time in New York and am currently trapped in Pennsylvania. Between the two, I've been in five control units, and know of several more. I can't remember the addresses to the ones in New York because it's been some years since I've been there. However, the names of the ones I've been in are Southport, Marcy S-Block and Lakeview S-Block. I know of others in New York such as Malone's Upstate, Green S-Block, Cayuga S-Block, Collins S-Block and Fishkill S-Block.

In Pennsylvania I was in the now defunct Long Term Segregation Unit (LTSU) which was at SCI Fayette (PO Box 9999 Labelle, PA 15450). It originally opened in 2000 at SCI Western but was moved to Fayette in 2004. That so-called "program" was totally shut down in 2007 because of the barbaric conditions. It was since converted into what's called SMU (Special Management Unit). I was never in the SMU at Fayatte, but I was in the SMU at SCI Camp Hill (PO Box 200, Camp Hill, PA 17001).

New York is designed just to be a Control Unit. It has 1200 people in the Control Unit, then an additional 300 people to do the cooking, cleaning, etc. Marcy, Lakeview and the other S-Blocks in New York are units built at "regular" prisons and confine 200 people apiece. Southport is predominantly a Control Unit, but I don't know the head counts.

The SMUs in Pennsylvania are units built at "regular" prisons and hold about 70-something people each. The LTSU was a unit within "regular" prisons and housed 40 people.

In terms of the national/racial make up of the people in the CUs I've been in, I would estimate that they all had about 90% Black/Latino and about 10% white.

The ways that the CUs are run varies, especially from state to state. Nevertheless, they are all different from the "regular", "holes", "boxes," or whatever the 23 hour/day lockdown units are called in each state. One of the biggest differences is that these CUs have several levels that a person can be on and these levels determine how many privileges are supposed to be afforded to them. For instance, in the SMUs in Pennsylvania, people on Phase 5 cannot have personal pictures, newspapers, magazines and many other things. The LTSU was the same way on levels 4 and 3.

Often times, persons with mental health issues are placed in these CUs, at least in Pennsylvania. It is not uncommon for them to bang on their desks, toilets, etc. for many hours at a time being as they can't deal with the confinement. Many even throw feces, urine and vomit on other prisoners and guards.

Several people enter these CUs with no history of mental health issues, but develop them while they're in there. They begin banging on things all day as well as throwing feces, urine and vomit. Suicides/attempts are not uncommon in these units.

Many guards antagonize prisoners and deny them food trays that they are supposed to be given. Or they may put things such as dead mice in the trays.

The physical abuse from the guards is a common thing. They sometimes beat handcuffed and shackled people bloody. They'll even do it while video monitors are recording by yelling "stop resisting!" to make it seem like they're to restrain a person.

They also have restraint chairs that they put people in. These are chairs in which people are strapped down for hours at a time - in Pennsylvania it's for a minimum of eight hours. People have been known to urinate or defecate on themselves while in these chairs.

These are just some of the things going on in these CUs. People have filed numerous grievances and lawsuits about the things that are going on, but for the most part there have been very few changes made. Usually a person's claim of being denied a food tray is dismissed as being "frivolous," or something of that nature.

I think it's a good idea to expose to the public what is actually going on behind these walls. Not only in Control Units, but in these neo-plantations in general. I will be of whatever assistance I can.

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