Keeping Rules a Secret Makes them Easier to Break

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[Censorship] [Varner Supermax] [Arkansas] [ULK Issue 18]
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Keeping Rules a Secret Makes them Easier to Break

First and foremost I hope this letter reaches you. Officer Sherry A Conrad over in the mailroom has been opening and reading my legal mail. She has also confiscated every legal document I have tried to send to you, along with the letters I've written to you about her. I used the prisoner grievance system against her and ever since then she has used retaliation against me. She has written 3 major disciplinary reports on me about my mail; one of these major disciplinary reports was concerning a letter I wrote you. I appealed this major disciplinary but Warden Jimmy Banks has violated my due process rights and refused to answer my appeal.

Under Lock & Key was also confiscated and sent to the Unit Publication Review Committee for "illegal discrimination, violence, verbal or sexual abuse or inflammatory attitudes towards any racial, sexual, age, handicapped or individuals or groups." I appealed the decision of this committee but it also has been refused to be answered. Now Warden Jimmy Banks and Law Library Officer Ms. Smith are refusing to make copies of my legal documents so I can mail them to you and the United States District Court to file a claim against them.

I've also requested the Administrative Regulation and Directives of the Arkansas Department of Corrections so I could send them to you and the court but I've been denied access to these by Warden Jimmy Banks. Warden Banks does not want us to have these Administrative Regulations or Directives because he or his officers at the Varner Super Max Unit do not follow the Administrative Regulations and Directives. So many of our rights are being violated by Warden Banks and his officers, it's not even funny.

This is the good ole south, "the good ole boy system" and they will do everything it takes to keep the public, media, or any other group or organization in the dark about how prisoners are being violated in the Arkansas prison system. The prisoners in Arkansas will not stand or stick together, write grievances, or write the public, media or any other groups or organizations out of fear of major disciplinaries or retaliation used against them for doing so. If a prisoner writes a grievance, public officials, media or groups or sticks together to take a stand against the ADC, they are placed in the Super Max under false charges, written major disciplinaries that will keep them from being released, are placed in the hole without any of their property, and the list goes on and on.

If a prisoner keeps on doing these things to stand against the ADC then the officers will use all kinds of force on the prisoner and make the reports look like the force was justified. I have been held in the Varner Super Max for one year under false banding together, escape, possession of tobacco, and possession of cell phone charges. Now they are using retaliation against me by confiscating my legal and personal mail and writing me major disciplinary reports for the mail they confiscate when I've broken no administrative regulation, directives, policies or rules. They are also refusing me law books, legal copies, and administrative regulations and directives that I need. I've been told by the Warden himself that I'll never be released from Varner Super Max into population.

I know many prisoners who want to write your organization but they have seen everything that has happened to me and others who have written letters about the ADC and they are afraid. I refuse to just lay down and go quietly away. I try to stay in the law books, and follow all rules, policies and regulations. A lot of prisoners come to me for legal advice and I try to help all I can. I'm working on filing a big claim of many violations against Interim Director Ray Hobbs, Warden Jimmy Banks, Officer Sherry A. Conrad of the ADC in the United States District Court.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This account of retaliation against prisoners who fight censorship and other illegal actions in prisons should strengthen our resolve to get Under Lock & Key in the hands of all prisoners who can receive it. We know receiving ULK can be a risk, which is why it is important that our subscribers share. But if you're not organizing, then nothing's gonna change. Those on the outside willing to help with these legal battles can aid us both in fighting censorship and exposing the criminal injustice system. As long as the state is not following its own rules, there will be countless legal battles to take on.

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