Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Alabama Prisons

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www.prisoncensorship.info is a media institution run by the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. Here we collect and publicize reports of conditions behind the bars in U.$. prisons. Information about these incidents rarely makes it out of the prison, and when it does it is extremely rare that the reports are taken seriously and published. This historical record is important for documenting patterns of abuse, and also for informing people on the streets about what goes on behind the bars.

We hope this information will inspire people to take action and join the fight against the criminal injustice system. While we may not be able to immediately impact this particular instance of abuse, we can work to fundamentally change the system that permits and perpetuates it. The criminal injustice system is intimately tied up with imperialism, and serves as a tool of social control on the homeland, particularly targeting oppressed nations.

[Economics] [Alabama] [ULK Issue 60]
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Alabama Sheriffs Profit by Starving Prisoners

In Alabama the law offers economic incentives to starve prisoners. Sheriffs get $1.75 per prisoner per day to feed people in jail, and they get to pocket any of that money not spent on food. According to the Southern Center for Human Rights, the sheriff in Etowah County "earned" $250,000 in 2016 by starving prisoners in that county.

At least forty-nine Sheriffs are refusing to report how much food money they are pocketing. Civil rights groups are suing these Sheriffs in an attempt to require them to release this information. But that still leaves the broader problem of the law that many are interpreting to allow Sheriffs to profit by starving prisoners.

As we discussed in the article MIM(Prisons) on U.$. Prison Economy - 2018 Update, criminal injustice system employees in the United $tates are the primary financial beneficiaries of the largest prison system in the world. Good pay and job security are appealing enough to draw many to this profession that exists off the oppression and suffering of others. With a system structured in this way, we shouldn't be surprised that Sheriffs in Alabama feel entitled to pocket money intended to feed people in their jails.

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[Abuse] [Alabama]
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Walker County Jail falling apart

The Walker County Jail is the best example of the worst jail in the state of Alabama. The jail is in disrepair and falling apart as it is built on an old Jasper City land-fill area. The foundation is being undermined by rainwater. The cell door locks are all broken and the inmates cannot be secured in their cells, which do not have lights inside, just exposed electrical wires hanging down. The roofing contract for the Walker County Jail was a political pay-off. Assaults, rapes and deaths happen and are not being investigated. There are gross violations at this county jail that need to be corrected and an audit/investigation on the $27 million debt still owed on this twenty year old dilapidated jail. Contact info: www.walkercountysheriff.com Address: Sheriff James E. Underwood Walker County Jail 2001 2nd Ave Jasper, AL 35501
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[Prison Labor] [Alabama]
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Alabama Prisoners do Productive Work to Supplement State Budgets

Alabama Correctional Industries (ACI) "utilizes inmate labor to produce goods and services that are sold to governmental entities within the State," the ACI website states. "The revenues generated go to offset the costs of incarceration and provide inmates with job skills and practical work experience."

Participating prisoners are paid 25 to 75 cents per hour for their work.

Alabama law states that products made by state prisoners can only be sold to "entities whose operational budgets are funded all or in part by tax revenues (e.g. state, county, and city governmental and educational organizations)," according to the ACI website.

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[Medical Care] [Holman Correctional Facility] [Alabama]
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Healthcare in a Nightmare World

Most people are ignorant of the atrocities and tragedies taking place daily in these koncentration kamps. People listen and believe the lies spewed from the deceitful mouths of prison officials who put forth the ridiculous notion that prisoners receive superior medical care to free-world people, FREE! The reality is something far different, sinister and abhorrent.

The rate of prisoner deaths is unreal. Just in a 12 month period from '08 to '09, six prisoners at Holman prison have died. This is not including the deaths on deathrow from natural (i.e. negligent) causes. This is just at one kamp. Word is that it's happening throughout the state.

Alabama is one of a number of states that has implemented "compassionate" release of terminally ill prisoners. There's nothing "compassionate" about this. "Compassion" is not the reasoning of politicians or prison officials. This provision is as compassionate as G.W. Bush's "compassionate" conservatism.

One prisoner had been approved for release under the "compassionate" release for terminally ill provision but died the day before his scheduled release. Imagine what the family went through, thinking and preparing for their loved one to come home "tomorrow" but find out he's dead the morning they were to pick him up. Another prisoner was also approved and released, but died after one day of being released.

What's deceitful, sinister and abhorrent about all these deaths is that with proper preventative healthcare, most, if not all, of these prisoners could still be alive today. Prison officials and the medical providers that are under contract with the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) are allowing these prisoners' medical conditions to deteriorate to save money on medical bills.

People must be made to understand that prison officials and prison medical providers are killing people by their reluctance to send prisoners to free-world hospitals and specialists and provide necessary medicines that prisoners need to survive, just to save money and in return reap huge profits.

In 2006, there was a big scandal at Limestone Correctional Facility in Alabama. Limestone is a medium security prison that also houses the state's HIV/AIDS prisoners. The scandal was about the medical service there. The doctor at the prison was complaining about prison officials interfering and dictating the treatment and medicines to be dispensed to prisoners. The doctor stated to the Birmingham News newspaper that the warden at Limestone had threatened her with locking her out of the prison if she didn't stop complaining about prison officials interfering in medical matters.

Limestone was also the prison that in the 1990s housed dead HIV/AIDS prisoners' bodies in the kitchen's meat freezer next to the food fed to prisoners.

All prisoners in Alabama know that any time there's a new doctor and that doctor shows any kind of humanity towards prisoners, and diligence in providing proper medical care such as sending prisoners to free-world hospitals, specialists, ordering costly tests, prescribing expensive medications, it won't last long before that doctor's gone.

Prisoners in Alabama have scheduled yearly physicals. Out of my 25 years doing time in Alabama prisons, I have had no more than my height, weight, temperature, and blood pressure measured, blood taken (every three years), TB tests and a few rapid-fire questions asked. That's it!

There's much more neglect, incompetence and denial I could list about healthcare in this nightmare world. The above should be enough to shock your conscious and your actions to fight for a world where exploitation, slavery and profit are not the motive for every endeavor. A better world is possible.

MIM(Prisons) responds:Overall, we don't believe that Amerikans are inadequately informed about prison conditions, and that once we tell them how horrible it is their conscience will kick in and drive them to action. In Amerikans: Oppressing for a Living, we explained how the Amerikan constituents demand "tough on crime" legislation and representatives. Their subjective interests in the welfare of prisoners is reflected in the lack of education programming, support to releasees, as well as abhorrent medical care to people locked up. Damn the facts. Amerikans are gonna keep complaining that "criminals are getting better health care for free" than what they pay for. And they'll ignore it if they pay government taxes that go to line the pockets of medical contractors who are letting people die of preventable causes.

Those of us who suffer at the hands of white Amerika, or commit national suicide should get on this comrade's bandwagon to fight for a world where profit is not a motivating factor for any endeavor, because it's true, a better world is possible.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Alabama] [ULK Issue 16]
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Revolutionary Transition


This is a revolutionary transition,
you think you're losin' something when you start listening,
don't get scared, stand strong, stop trippin',
slow down, this is what you're missin'.

Huey spoke of revolutionary suicide
not about dying
shallow minds, blind
it's about living
creeps in blue suits and ties,
despise as we rise! rise! rise!
like the phoenix from the ashes,
clashing with fascists,
to free the masses
smashing the lies,
resuscitating the dying
so we can get our swag on,
carry on the legacy
Mao, Fanon, Atlanta
feelin' 'em
capitalism, imperialism, neo-kolonialism
diss 'em.

Timeout from the bullshit to find out what's real
communism, Maoism
don't be disinterested, this is in your best interest
educating the people to think for themselves,
organizing and practice,
the presence is more felt
solutions that meet needs
not talkin' that same game,
independent institutions,
not talkin' 'bout makin' it rain
you stupid m_____ fukaz
that money could fight a peoples war,
feed the po',
you selfish clique of suckaz,
how could you dare want more
lying, killing and suffering
which came from the government,
they give you crack and pills,
an' you call them legitimate
this is for those that need correction,
from seniors to adolescents,
consciousness is a weapon,
communism is what we repin',
police ain't no protection,
crimes against the people,
whose past are your reflectin'
i understand you Black,
all you understand is some cappin'
if much love is your cliche,
why genocide you display?
I understand you been misled with bullshit,
by the preacher behind the pulpit
regardless of what he say,
communism is the way,
and my heroes are fighting the system every day.

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[Organizing] [Holman Correctional Facility] [Alabama] [ULK Issue 15]
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Back to the basics

Not too long ago, prisoners at the Holman Max Security prison in Alabama staged a work/hunger strike in protest of the horrendous and deplorable unsanitary living conditions (open sewage around the toilets and sinks, gaping holes in the shower walls, exposed plumbing, leaking roof in the living and sleeping area and in the kitchen, and the constant arbitrary lockdowns).

There had been grumblings about these conditions from most prisoners. Complaints had been filed but no action was ever taken to correct any of the above problems.

A few prisoners got together, chopped it up and came up with a strategy and tactics to correct the conditions. We knew that this was a winnable battle because the conditions were right to galvanize the entire prison population and we had family and friends on the outside.

The conditions in the dorms and kitchen were so deplorable that there was no way for prisoncrats to dance around the issues of willful neglect and the callous disregard for sanitation and prisoners health.

We also knew that they couldn't afford to allow the prison industry (tag plant/metal fab) to be closed down too long. We were hitting them in their pockets. Plus, the pigs are so lazy that we knew there would be friction among them about having to prepare hot, cooked meals for those prisoners who were exempt from the hunger strike, and to wash the trays, pots and pans.

We made a list of all the people and agencies we want to notify about what was going down and why we were staging a peaceful work/hunger strike. We had our people outside to bombard the commissioner's office with faxes and phone calls, call the local media to notify them of the strike and express their concern and outrage about the conditions.

We then sent kites (notes) to prisoners in the other four dorms about what we were getting ready to do and why, and asked that they take the leadership in their dorms. Word came back from the other dorms giving the ok. Then simultaneously, all four dorms placed all TVs and microwaves at the front gate. TVs have always been used as a weapon to pacify prisoners for years. So, we were letting them know that no longer could they control us with them.

Instantly, the pigs who were in the dorms fled. We addressed the entire dorm laying out what we were doing, why and how we planned on proceeding. We asked that everyone join in the strike. Only the elderly and those with medical reasons were allowed to go and eat, and they acted as reconnaissance scouts while out of the dorm. With everyone's input we drew up a list of demands and declared them non-negotiable. The first demand was that we wanted to talk to the commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) and not the warden of the prison. We knew that eventually the riot team would be called in so we discussed how we were going to handle that. The consensus was that we keep the strike peaceful and there would be nothing they could do. On more than one occasion, the pigs tried to provoke violent confrontations. We refused to play into their hands.

Over 18 hours into the strike, the commissioner made his way from Montgomery, Alabama to Holman prison at Atmore, Alabama. He requested to speak with our spokesmen. We had selected a spokesman from and for each dorm. The spokesmen informed the commissioner that there would be no dealings with the warden since he had years to address our concerns and that there would be no private talks. The commissioner was forced to enter the dorms. We made our complaints and demands. The commissioner tried to dodge and use the same old crap they always use about budgets and allocations of funds for the ADOC. We let him know that we've heard that before and that we were not willing to end the strike until we got some guarantees and changes. The commissioner eventually agreed to all our demands.

The following day inspectors, contractors, etc. visited the prison and prisoners were temporarily moved from each dorm for renovations to begin. Within a year all dorms were renovated and a new roof was put in place.

We read the conditions right. The population was angry and thoroughly dissatisfied with the conditions. The population was just waiting on someone to take the initiative and move out front, to take the leadership role.

Some did just that.

This article referenced in:
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[Control Units] [Alabama]
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Resistance from within Management Control Units

I extend greetings of solidarity and strength to those who remain intransigent in view of the ongoing onslaught of oppression. Brothers and sisters, due to the fact that MIM does not publish the names of comrades, all my communications will be addressed to you as Matulla. I will also be submitting future articles on a variety of issues, and petition you all to become or remain active with MIM as we strive for a revolutionary vanguard to defeat imperialism and this repressive prison industrial complex.

I have been reading of your struggles against our oppressors, even as you are interned deep within the belly of the beast, i.e. MCU, SHU, etc. This isolation and its barbaric nature are common to you and I. However our seclusion must solidify our opposition to repression, and must not cause you to become dispirited. We must continue to resist and withstand the force and effect of their deceptive practices.

I have been subjected to every form of terrorism and brutality that the state can throw at me. I've been beaten and tortured, starved and whipped. They've tried to break me, and desired to see me crawl. Instead I decided on resistance by any means possible. Don't get me wrong, I am no hero, and sure as hell would like to have been someplace else, but like many of you, I understand why it is so important to defy our captors, even while we fight to survive, literally in hell. It is also important that you have the support of those on the outside, which is the primary reason I've been effective.

In spite of my circumstances, my resolve is steadfast, because I fully understand why I'm being subjected to the draconian degrees of selective political persecution that I have been forced to endure over the past 4 1/2 years. I am innocent of all the repressive administrators' false allegations. Because I am militant, I am being subjected to selective political persecution by the state for merely entertaining such militant thoughts.

I'm aware of many of the conditions you speak of at your facilities, if not all. Many prisoners, here as throughout the united $tate$, are placed in these [isolation] units without having broken any prison rules. Prisoners who have been identified as being politically subversive, or incorrigible (political), and possess or display leadership qualities or potentials are assigned to the prison's repressive "MCU" and/or "SHU" unit(s).

Many of these placements are based solely on uncorroborated administrative or confidential informant reports that are never provided to the prisoner before or after the classification hearings so they can prepare some type of defense against the confidential informants uncorroborated allegations, or seek some kind of redress after the fact, via the kourt system (which often sides with the repressive prison administrators).

Some prisoners (political and apolitical) are placed in the MCU, SMU or SHU before they are convicted or right after they are sentenced on the charges they are arrested for. In general, these units will base its decisions to intern a prisoner in these units upon its evaluation of the following factors: records of past imprisonment, disciplinary records, prison records on work assignments, adjustment to prison programs, records on past housing assignments, attitude toward authority, psychological makeup, and involvement in political, social and criminal activities while in prison. In many instances prisoners are isolated due to their involvement or alleged involvement with street organization.

We must also begin to take an in depth look at the goals of these units and how they achieve these goals. Politicized social prisoners, political prisoners, some radicalized religious prisoners, prison lawyers, apolitical prisoner leaders or potential leaders are isolated from the general population with the goal of reshaping their beliefs or to psychologically break us.

During my years in the MCU, SHU and SMU units I've seen prisoners renounce their political, religious and "gang" affiliations in order to win their release from these repressive units. It has long been my position that convictions are not a matter of convenience, because if an individual is serious about his or her convictions, no matter the consequences, he or she will remain true to them. I have seen prisoners suffer emotional breakdowns because they could no longer cope with the constant lockdown. They sometimes start taking the mind-controlling psychotropic drugs administered by the psychiatrist, to escape the realities of this never ending insanity.

Brothers and sisters, being in captivity is a terrible adversity. Many prisoners are affected in different ways. I've witnessed many become complacent in an institutionalized way, capitulate, or they become more rebellious and speak of vengeance. Other prisoners start identifying with their oppressors, the guards, and start seeing them as being humane instead of sadistic. They develop hostile tendencies towards other prisoners who recognize and expose the true sadistic nature of the guard. It all depends on the individual prisoner and his internal composition over a protracted period of time.

My petition to you is that you withstand the direct frontal assaults being unleashed against us. We must all continue to struggle, even while interned in the belly of this most relentless beast.

I too am subjected to the same deprivations as you, which are designed to make us kow-tow. Restricted contact visits, restricted law library access, "no" work and education privileges, restricted religious access, as well as having my correspondences and reading materials carefully scrutinized (more so than the prisoners in general population.) In addition, we are carefully searched every time we leave the control unit (going and coming ) in the presence of two armed security guards carrying black night sticks that they call "nigger beaters." We are subjected to restrictive outside recreation and 24 and 23 3/4 hour days locked down in these cages year-round.

In reading your missives to MIM, many of you have been given the same options as I to obtain release from these repressive units. They have advised me that I need to improve my social profile and abandon my oppositional stance prior to release consideration from the MCU. Renouncing my politics will never happen. I've never contemplated the thought of being apolitical again in my life because I have suffered so, and to pay homage to the late George L. Jackson, I want to say there is no turning back from awareness because it is our obligatory duty to act once we become aware of what is, as well as what must be done and not just spoken about.

MIM has been active when it comes to about the history and reality of control units, i.e. SHU, MCU, SMU etc., especially in the state of California. We must do our part as prisoners, to organize and form a collective behind the walls to assist them. If this means resisting physically we must resist. If we must die, let it not be like hogs, hunted and penned in an inglorious spot.

Other prisoner support organizations, and most advocates, lose interest after a while because combating the existence of SHUs and control units necessitates a protracted commitment and most people are not willing to make such a commitment. In addition, prisoners around the country who have experienced the fascist repression of these units and prison existence do not stay the course upon release. Many ex-prisoners don't help those who helped them and stayed the course with them when they were locked down deep in the repressive confines of some state or federal SHU and/or control unit. Once released they failed to act upon the promises they previously made about advocating the propaganda of serious struggle in the community at large.

I encourage all of you to remain strong and uncompromising. We must work relentlessly to replace the bourgeois injustice system with proletarian justice.

— Matulla, a prisoner in Alabama, April 2003

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