Inspired to fight, restricted by prison
I'm fortunate to say that your letters and assistance have encouraged me on a constructive level and I truly appreciate your correspondence. I'm 33 years old and my approach has always been to confront and address oppression physically. I still believe that occasional physical resistance is sometimes warranted, but as a growing man, thinking about these struggles, I understand that attacking in anger is to do so in confusion.
Like many of my brothers and Askaris before me, I was under the impression that muscle alone equals might. For a moment I even fell in love with confrontation and the opportunity to flex that muscle. Such heedlessness has led to my current placement in confinement, but is also the reason for my redirection, as well as my gratitude to you for reaching out.
As the komrade Huey P. Newton so eloquently phrased it: "the walls, the bars, the guns and the guards can never encircle or hold down the idea of the people. And the people must always carry forward the idea which is their dignity and their beauty."
Here's the latest pertaining to me which begs for more of your input: Because of some correspondence I sent out on July 30, 2009, I received three disciplinary misconducts (270 days) for third party correspondence, and unauthorized group activity with prisoners at other plantations. However, the letters in question, 2 in particular, were not addressed to any current or former prisoners. And the misconducts were based on assumption due to my alleged affiliation and no facts. More importantly, there are policies in place to safeguard constitutional rights when scrutinizing or monitoring mail.
Because of that incident, all of my incoming and outgoing correspondence is now monitored by security, and they're attempting to use that to infringe on my First Amendment. My outgoing mail, including privileged legal mail, is being withheld for over a week before being processed for delivery. This intentional prolonged withholding of my mail has directly conflicted with the timely deadlines of my administrative appeal process, and is intended to disrupt my correspondence to sensitive media outlets like yourself.
Pennsylvania's DOC policy statement DC-ADM 803 states that all mail should be processed within 24 hours. And that "an inmate shall be notified when outgoing mail is being withheld." My postage receipts verify withholding of longer than 24 hours and I have never received any notification authorizing my mail to be held.
I've brought this to the attention of the pink bellies, and I've exhausted my administrative remedies without any redress despite my eagerness to learn litigation. I'm lost on how to proceed to the courts: what motion, what court, etc, etc.
Pennsylvania has a common practice throughout the state that limits prisoners who are housed in the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) to purchasing only 10 envelopes a week. Every prisoner is afforded 10 free envelopes a month, but once those are gone, s/he must purchase the rest. I typically run through 50-60 envelopes a month, and any limitation on paid envelopes seems to be a violation of the first amendment.
In enforcing this limit, prisoners in PA's RHUs can correspond no more than 40-50 times a month, sometimes 30 because it often takes two full weeks to receive your commissary order. I've initiated a grievance challenging the practice.
I'm in solitary confinement for an indefinite period of time for what has been termed "a failure to adjust" and "affiliation to an STG". However, when I addressed officials at a hearing last week and voiced my willingness to participate in counseling, I was told that there are no such programs available to me. So, I took it upon myself to seek counseling from an outside party, and was warned by the farmers that if I continued to pursue that counseling, or wrote and informed, that I would receive a misconduct.