We Must Fight ULK Denials
I am writing this article to encourage and support my fellow prisoners to appeal the publication denials for Under Lock & Key. Don't give up in our fight for our rights. By not appealing the denial you are also stopping other prisoners from a chance to receive the above mentioned newsletter that many enjoy reading.
I am housed in the "close custody" section at a high security prison farm in Texas. We are always having our rights taken away here on "close custody." Don't know about General Population (I've never made it there, due to the constant harassment of the officers in charge here) however, I am sure that just like any other prison, things are not too much different.
I'm restricted to a two-man cell, 24 hours a day with no movement. Everything comes to you. What a privilege, right? I don't feel so privileged. We are allowed recreation only when staff feel like coming to their jobs to work. If you're not on recreation restriction, you may go to rec once a week. If you are a prisoner on rec restriction, and most are here on close custody, then you may see the "yard" once every two months. We receive the same excuses that I'm sure all prisoners have heard, "we are understaffed and short-handed." Although, lately it has been due to the "fog" which they say is a security risk. The rec here on "close custody" is separated into six cages, under a concrete roof. How exactly does the fog pose a threat in this situation? To me it is just another way to take away our rights by sweeping another excuse under the "security risk" rug. Which brings me to my point that we have to continue fighting for our rights.
On 25 February 2011 I was notified by mail room staff that my publication of Under Lock & Key was denied and I wouldn't be receiving it. The reason given was "page 10 contains material of a racial nature." Now who's rights are being violated? What happened to "freedom of speech" in America? There was also a box checked that reads: "It contains material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to breakdown prisons through offender disruption such as strikes, riots or security threat group activity." Sounds like another excuse swept under the "security risk" rug. Don't you agree?
Although imprisoned, we do still have rights, but only the ones we continue to fight for. When asked, "do you want to appeal this denial?" always appeal, if not for yourself for the others on lock. You cannot win if you don't fight.