Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Arkansas Prisons

Graphic design skills? Help us with our new logo! help out 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.

[Abuse] [Medical Care] [East Arkansas Regional Unit] [Arkansas]

Brickley's Unit denies healthcare and grievances, creates dangerous conditions

Below are 10 stated facts of oppression here at Brickley's Unit of ADC:

( 1) there is no air conditioning in cell-blocks, isolation cells, or several population barracks.

(2) Sleep deprivation is constant in cell-blocks, isolation and population due to the excessive heat and non-stop noise. Yet in population everyone is forced to work monday-friday without pay under such conditions - - else they will receive a disciplinary and lose their class, privileges, visits, phone, commissary and eventually receive isolation time for refusing.

(3) There are only 2 shower-heads to each barracks in population, yet shower times are between 4:30pm and 10:30pm. If caught taking showers out of that time frame, one is subject to disciplinary action.

(4) Obtaining proper medical attention is hard in population but even harder in cell-blocks and isolation. Once seen, after the initial $3.00 copay fee from the previous sick-call, the nurse/doctor will only prescribe you the cheapest and bare minimum of medicines so as soon as that expires, if your problem persists, one has to pay another $3.00 copay fee to get those meds renewed. Also, since I've been in the cell-blocks and ISO, I have received other peoples' medicine at pill-call instead of my own several times.

(5) Mental-health doesn't care what happens to inmates here at Brickey's. Over 20 people have allegedly killed themselves or died smoking (K2) over the past 3 months of me transferring here. I myself was and still am having problems with my mental-health medication. Despite me writing several requests to mental health, writing grievances and overstating to my case manager that I need to see the psychiatrist because my meds weren't working. Nothing has been done about it, that is why I locked myself down. Since then, every time one of the mental health people make their rounds I verbally tell them the same thing, yet to no avail. I even spoke to classification about this ongoing/worsening issue, yet they keep trying to release me back to population despite that I've written and verbally stated due to my mental health state, until I see the psychiatrist again and be placed meds that actually help me, I am a threat to security and don't need to be in population. They don't care! Also, every time they try and release me/force me to go back to population and I don't, I receive another disciplinary.

(6) I am currently in a cell that leaks through the ceiling and outside wall onto my mat and table when it rains. In population, several barracks downstairs always flood when water comes under the outside doors during rains.

(7) Ants, roaches, mice and spiders are a major problem with the kitchen and cells.

(8) In the cell-blocks and in isolation cells, drinks are served 2-3 hours before every meal. By the time food is served, it is usually cold from sitting around waiting to be served. Also, when the drinks are served they are hot or lukewarm a lot of the time and there's always things floating in it. Our water in general is dingy brown and often stinks.

(9) It is very hard to get paperwork back here (especially grievances). Once grievances are finally obtained, written and ready to be signed by a Sgt. or above, they will often walk right past your cell without signing them even when you ask them to. Also, mail is an issue in general - - as far as one receiving it from the outside world. My mail has been lost several times since I transferred here.

(10) Most of the TVs are busted out in every cell-block, preventing inmates from watching mandatory news or institutional movies.

[Abuse] [East Arkansas Regional Unit] [Arkansas]

ADC lockdown denies basic rights

Currently housed in a maximum security unit in Arkansas, where laws, rules, and procedures are governed by those of higher stature and officials who have previously passed laws. So why are those rules and laws constantly being overlooked and not abided by, by the staff, wardens, and directors of the Arkansas Dept. of Corrections?

We are on lock down twenty-four/seven, and being on lock down twenty-four/seven, by federal laws and statutes, we are allowed yard/recreation of some sort five times a week, five days a week here at Tucker on Restrictive, Ad-Seq, and Punitive ISO. We are not getting that. For the past three or four months, we have been getting an hour out, sometimes two hours a week. Is this not violating our 8th amendment constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment? There should be no reason at all we shouldn't get yard/rec.. At least an hour out of our cells we are required to receive, especially when staff are available to take us out. This is just one issue we have been having here at this unit.

If we don't follow the rules or ADC policy, we take punishment such as disciplinary, shakedowns etc. Filing a grievance here does no good, so the smoke blows in every direction, but not in the direction of justice. There gots to be a remedy, a way, a path for us on lockdown to get the things we are entitled to. Small things like receiving toilet paper, soap & toothpaste, cell cleanup, barracks cleaned, the list goes on. I know we put ourselves here by committing a crime, that still doesn't allow the ADC at this unit to neglect us of what we are required to receive! Maybe MIM(Prisons) can help us find the proper direction or procedure to take as a body of those being neglected. Do you have available literature to read & take action? Thanks.

[Censorship] [North Central Unit] [Arkansas]

Arkansas censoring letters longer than 3 pages

I am an inmate at the North Central unit in Calico Rock, Arkansas. About six months ago they started a new mail policy to stop people in the free world from sending drugs through the mail. When this all started we were told to notify our peoples about this new policy which consisted of letters to us being no longer than 3 pages, one sheet, both sides and one side of another, or 3 sheets front-side only.

The letters are copied and originals are shredded immediately, this includes photos which one photo counts as one page. They shred it not caring if it has any sentimental value to you or not. It comes down to us receiving 2 sheets of paper, 3 sides for literature or a photo and one side to copy the envelope. If a letter comes to the mailroom for you that exceeds 3 pages, that night at mail call you will receive a return mail notice at which time you are told to supply a stamped envelope to the mail room so they can return all of your letter back to sender. You get none of it. If you do not supply them with an envelope to return your mail to sender, then after 30 days your mail is destroyed leaving you wondering aimlessly what was written in your letter.

In my own experience as of lately an old girlfriend from 35 years ago has found me somehow, and has decided to write me. She leaves no return address, only her initial and the letters postmarked from Illinois, where I was born and raised. Since she's not leaving a return address I have no way of contacting her and letting her know about this policy. It's pretty cool having someone still thinking about me after so many years. Guess I'll never know what was written cuz her letters will be destroyed without me ever being able to read them.

Isn't this totally against what the First Amendment stands for? I can understand them trying to alleviate the problem of drugs coming in, I can deal with them copying the letters even though we won't be able to smell the scent of a woman after she sprays our mail with the scent of her perfume, but to limit the amount of pages we're allowed to receive is just against our rights. Is this legal and can you help me with this issue? I want to end this letter by saying I really enjoy reading your newsletter please send more, and everything you do and stand for is awesome!

[Abuse] [Medical Care] [Drugs] [Arkansas] [ULK Issue 59]

Arkansas DOC Covers Up Deaths from K2, Frames Comrade

On 15 September 2017 my neighbor died smoking K2 and after the pigs saw I was the last person to speak with him they locked me up under investigation. The first interrogation was conducted by the Arkansas state pig and it seemed as if all was well. The next week another death, same cause. Then my neighbor's mom appeared on the news saying she was gonna get to the bottom of his death (apparently they told her he had a heart attack), and bring a lawsuit before the court.

So when the internal affairs came and conduct their interrogation the pressure had been put on ADC (Arkansas Department of Corrections) and the woman resorts to some dirty ass tactics as soon as I walk in. She starts by telling me she's been doing her thorough investigation and listening to my phone calls, and that she knows about my girlfriend that I tell that I love her and then call my wife and turn around and tell her the same. I ask her if it was some type of threat she was implying because what she was talking about had nothing to do with my neighbor's death. She then starts her backpedaling and starts questioning me about $ I had moved in the "free." That's where I decided to end our conversation.

Right before the time period for investigation ran out I received a disciplinary for possession of contraband even though I was never in possession of anything and it was at this point I realized ADC had their scapegoat in the form of myself. That week topped off with another death, same cause. That's 4 deaths from K2 in this prison within 90 days (there was one about a month before my neighbor).

I was found guilty in kangaroo court, given 30 days punitive and 60 days restriction on phone, visits, commissary. A few days later, the Arkansas state pig comes back. The only reason I could see was to fish for some more circumstantial evidence and bring some type of formal charges to cover ADC's ass. I've been in the hole for about 40 days now and as far as that situation, that's where things stand.

MIM(Prisons) adds: We just completed a survey of drugs in U.S. prisons, in which we found K2 to be the new dominant drug across much of the country. See our article on the K2 epidemic in Texas, where a similar rash of deaths have occurred.

[Censorship] [Arkansas] [ULK Issue 59]

Censorship in Arkansas Under Guise of Fighting Drugs

Effective August 7, 2017, envelopes will no longer be provided to inmates. Please ensure that you write your return address on the correspondence itself; otherwise, the inmate receiving the mail will not have the return address.

This is a further attempt to reduce the introduction of drugs into our facilities. It is for the health and safety of the population as correspondence is being soaked/laced with illegal drugs. Correspondence will be copied and only the copies will be provided to the inmate (should this not be effective in eliminating the introduction of drugs into the facilities, further steps maybe taken including allowing only email or postcard correspondence with only one side of the postcard being copied.) I appreciate your assistance as we attempt to keep your loved one safe! - Director Wendy Kelly

This is the current tactic of repression in a so-called attempt to eliminate drug usage. It's really Arkansas Department of Corrections's ploy to increase the censorship of all incoming mail. I'm asking all supporters and prisoners' families to write Director Wendy Kelly to protest this insane act of censoring prisoners' mail. So effective 7 August 2017, we prisoners of ADC will only be given copies of our mail. This act seems to be the state's way of censoring Arkansas prisoners' mail and an effective method to slow the Arkansas grievance petition. Write to protest: Director Wendy Kelly, Arkansas Department of Correction, PO Box 8707, Pine Bluff, Arkansas 71611.

[Economics] [Gender] [East Arkansas Regional Unit] [Arkansas]

Most COs at Male Prison are Female

The ratio is 80% female guards and 20% male guards. This came about because most guys in Arkansas don't want to work for the prison system or because they have felonies on their record they can't work for the prison system. The majority of the female guards that are being hired since I've been here are 19 to 30 years old; mostly 19-24 though. Single mothers with 2 or more kids at home. Who also see this as one of the best things that happened in their life besides welfare. Some of them have either their mother, father, uncle or auntie who also work for ADC's prison system. Also the guys they do hire are fresh out of high school. Here being a correctional officer at East Arkansas Regional Unit seems like every employee is either friends, family or husband and wife.

[Organizing] [East Arkansas Regional Unit] [Arkansas] [ULK Issue 57]

Riots in Arkansas Protest Abuse

On 18 April 2017 the prisoners here rioted against the staff. Mainly it was just the South Hall. Those youngsters are tired of being treated like animals. So they rebel the only way they knew how. By busting out all the windows on the South Hall of East Arkansas Regional Unit, which was one through eight barracks. This transpired that day from 5:30pm until 5:30am. By then Emergency Response Team (ERT) and officers from all the other units responded. They shot 30mm rubber bullets and flash bangs into those barracks. They hog tied prisoners, and dragged them down the hall to the visitation yard which was turned into a makeshift infirmary. There prisoners were beat, kicked or stomped while still cuffed and awaiting medical treatment. The pigs stayed for 3 days in extremely large numbers. 100 officers for day and night shifts the first day, then 50 extra officers on the 2nd and 3rd day. They even returned on the nights of Arkansas' executions.

The prisoners could have rebelled better, but it is what it is. I'm glad, it just goes to show only so much repression will be tolerated by the masses until change is demanded. It's just that their energy could have been utilized in a more revolutionary way than in just a release of emotional outcry. Educating prisoners, all day. Each and every day we must teach the Marxist-Leninst-Maoist way.

[Abuse] [East Arkansas Regional Unit] [Arkansas] [ULK Issue 56]

Drugs a Barrier to Organizing in Many Prisons

I got a chance to read ULK 53 and I remember an article on leadership and how a brother wrote in from a prison in Maryland admitting his part in being part of the problem by dealing drugs in the institution he's in. I'm held hostage in a similar institution that is a complete waste of money. I know that this injustice has to crumble, but it takes education and an awareness to speed this process. Unfortunately, the facility I'm held in is overrun with sk8 (ice) and 2evce (K2) and so the main objective of most of my fellow prisoners here is to maintain their drug habit daily or capitalize off of this impairment to our struggle.

I've been on both sides of that fence so I understand how hard it is to be woken up to the reality. Here at East Arkansas Regional Unit, $100 of ice can go as far as getting someone fucked off and stabbed up real good. But to tell someone that by doing that they're falling into the trap the pigs have set for us, then you become the enemy and the target of violence yourself. I know there are more like-minded men incarcerated in Arkansas Department of Corruption but we're so few and far between that I know any steps taken to further revolution in my state will have to be taken on my part.

I am more than willing to take a stand against the injustices and the power behind it. I ask United Struggle from Within for your help. I read that you have study packs on leadership and a number of different courses. I would greatly appreciate your help in my education and I will speak out and share with anyone around me here that is within earshot.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Drugs as a tool of complacency and distraction is all too common inside and outside prisons. This is an issue we want to investigate more deeply as part of our study of the imprisoned lumpen class. We have since enrolled this comrade in our intro study course to get started on the path towards stronger leadership.

We will be doing a report on our research on the drug economy in prisons in the last issue of Under Lock & Key this year. To help us, we ask that all of our readers complete the survey below to the best of your ability:

  • What items (including drugs) are the most in demand on the black market in your prison?
  • What kinds of drugs are most popular (including alcohol)?
  • What kinds of drugs are easiest to obtain and why?
  • How much do drugs cost?
  • How do drugs make it into prison and into the hands of the sellers?
  • How do prisoners pay for drugs?
  • What are the health impacts of these drugs on the population?
  • What are the social impacts of these drugs on the population? (ie. more fighting, more passivity, more/less socializing, more/less community, what activities would people likely be doing if it weren't for drugs)
  • Are there certain groups of people who seem to use drugs more than others?
  • Who benefits from drug dealing at your facility?
  • Have you seen effective efforts by prisoners to organize against drug use and its effects? If so, please describe them.
[Abuse] [East Arkansas Regional Unit] [Arkansas]

Suicides Rampant at East Arkansas Prison

While reading the ULK 51 I noticed an article titled "People Dying, Urgency to Shut Down Control Units." This article is/was concerning an inmate named "Wiley" (if I'm spelling his name correctly) who was from my hometown, North Little Rock, who hung himself the day before he made parole. Right now in my current (Ad-Seg/ISO bound) I know/feel that silence on a lot of the issues will be my wisest strategem. But I think that it'll be alright to disclose some of the details about what's going on here at East Arkansas Regional Unit (EARU) and in the max. Drawing too much attention to myself, and revealing all of my hand, would only impede my efforts, more than augmenting them.

I met Wiley when I was in Administrative Segregation (aka "the Max") when I was housed in Max 4, 30 cell on the 2nd tier. Wiley was in Max 4, 18 cell on the bottom tier. We could see in each other's cells kinda. We were introduced to one another through mutual associations, when he asked me to draw up a tattoo pattern for somebody; one of his family members, or his wife, I can't remember which. Long story short, basically Wiley had let the officers know ahead of time that he was having medical problems and suicidal thoughts before he hung himself. Like the night before, or a day or two before he died. And he was telling them that he thought that "everybody was trying to kill/poison" him. That same night he went to the Max infirmary (alive) with two escorts. I want to say that one of the escorts was a Lieutenant. I witnessed all that with my own two eyes and ears. And Wiley returned to the same cell that night, alive. Wiley "caught out" of the Barracks later on saying that we were all trying to kill him and poison him and that he was having suicidal thoughts. This was a day or two later — on another shift I think — after he had went to the max infirmary originally. I saw him leave his cell in a wheelchair, this time (alive) and the 2 officer escorts were carrying what appeared to be a braided noose that I'm guessing they got outta his cell. Note: it's common for Max staff to escort inmates by wheelchair just to speed things up. Since it usually takes ages, and a lot of pain on inmates wrists/ankles, to walk up and down a long-ass hallway while shackled/handcuffed). They probably took him to one of the 3 isolations (the hole) suicide watch/treatment precaution cells (although I have no way to confirm this conjecture). There the inmate is in an "observation cell" with a caged window that the officer in the ISO's "control booth" can look through and see into all of the inmate's cell. Unless you get down low on the ground or duck off in the corner. There are 3 ISO BKs in the Max, holding about 50-60 people per each BKs (most cells are 2 man cells), and there's two one-man observation cell per each of the ISO BKs. The officer is supposed to make 15 minute checkups or "security checks" while being stationed inside the control booth, where they look in each of the little observation windows, and then put a note into the yellow mental health log/folder, stating what they see the inmate doing (or lie, like they usually do and make up some bs to avoid having to stand up every 15 minutes).

So Wiley killed himself the day before he made parole. The news hit my ears the hour that he hung himself. This is where it gets even crazier: last year alone, 2015, I was in the same barracks with two other inmates who hung themselves other than Wiley (3 total hangings that I witnessed first hand), and another hung himself in my homie's barracks right behind mine. And they're not killing themselves for no reason, I assure you. Not very many people are built to do a year or more back here.

The first hanging that I witnessed happened in my barracks while I was in Max 6, 32 cell on the 2nd tier during September or October 2015 — the guy that hung himself was in Max 6, 4 cell on the 1st tier. He had showed the guard the noose like 2 hours or so before he killed himself, as a warning, or so they say. That's what the homies told me on yard afterwards, who could actually see inside his cell, and also homies who were in cells close to him. But remember that this is prison, and shit often gets twisted. So you got to take info as it comes. The same officer, who was supposed to be working Max 6 made no rounds at all. I remember that. He came around for mail call at 6pm (shift change) and to talk to certain inmates, and that was it. That's nothing new though. That's normal here. Real talk. Nobody gives a shit either.

This is Part 2 to the Story

It was movie night and I was watching some 007 show I think. All the sudden the police radios start going wild. Stretchers pull up, with the lil oxygen thing, about 15-30 minutes after the initial call. Which really surprises me that they got there that fast. They don't have a relevant nurse station with nurses already on stand-by within a mile's walk from the max. The nearest nurses station is found by walking through several long ass hallways, all the way out in "population" GP unit; so it always takes forever for them to get down the hallways and through 8-9 riot gates, etc., with the stretchers and equipment. I used a mirror on a slit in the side of my "bean trap" to watch all this play out. But the angle of the 2nd tiers floor blocked a lot of my view. The officer never got fired. I remember seeing him a whole year afterwards. I'm not sure if he got suspended or anything. And I'm not sure what happened after that, as far as "news coverage" goes. But there were no changes when it comes to the general guard behaviors, and their grossly negligent practices. That's probably due to that particular inmate not having any family or a support system. If he'd of had family press the issue it would've been regarded with more concern, and seriousness.

Now fast forward to the day before Thanksgiving, 2015. I was in max 5, 30 cell, on the 2nd tier. The kid, named Tyler, who hung himself, was in 14 or 15 cell, on the 1st tier. I can't go too far into details on paper, or in the wrong company. But I will say that he'd been notifying the officers about some legitimate "problems," trying to get a cell change either the night before, or maybe 2 nights before he died, and about 30 minutes to an hour or two before he died, for the second time. He was in a "corner cell" where your neighbors can not only see all of your cell, but you and your closest neighbor are both literally 2-3 feet apart, facing each other (almost) at a 90 degree L shaped angle, and can reach your arm/hand out and touch each other's doors. Inmates can "dash" each other with anything you can think of — boiling grease/magic shave mixtures; shit, piss, cum, spoiled milk, and some ingredients I won't name, etc. Happens all the time. Or neighbors can even take a knife and fashion a spear shaft and cut or stab one another. What y'all think Mr. Rogers would think about that neighborhood?

I went to yard that same day, (right before Tyler died). In the freezing cold (I was frozen and drove), stuck standing in a small, chain-link dog cage for what turned out to be an extra 3 hours (it's supposed to be one hour). All because of the "holidays" and a "staff shortage," (and the fact that they knew it was cold and that I had to piss.) I was trying to meet up with one of my homies in 7 barracks. I came back inside, (numb, half-frozen), and 30 minutes later staff starts swarming into the barracks (everybody from the warden on down — like a lil piggie holiday family reunion) with nurses and stretchers/the weird oxygen thing. The guy in the corner cell next to Tyler knew about his suicidal/paranoid comments that he'd been yelling out all night, and during that same morning right before shift change, (I had been up for a few days and also heard of it all), and had noticed Tyler had a sheet over his door. He eventually figured out that Tyler was back there behind the sheet, hanging.

What a phone call his momma, and incarcerated father (who's also in the ADC) must of got the day before thanksgiving....all because some police, can't even do a simple job.

Due to the fact that Tyler had a family (that pressed the issue) as well as some "friends" around here, this incident actually made the channel 3 news. If he'd of been somebody without family or friends then that would've never happened. The warden over the unit and the max even started making the officers stay in the barracks without leaving out all day, (which never usually happens/happened) and he started making sure they do their 30 minute rounds. That lasted 2-3 months before they started slipping back into old, familiar, neglectful ways.

The other hanging (which happened like June or July of 2015), which happened in max 4 (my homie's barracks) while I was in max 6. All of the max barracks (except max 1 and 2) are set up to where the small windows in our cells above our racks (they're about 4 feet long and 5-6 inches tall) are facing one another. So if i'm in max 6 looking outta my window I can see most of the windows in max 4 (unless I'm at the front of the barracks or at the under end of the barracks in a corner cell. I was in 32 cell, a corner cell. Me and one of my homies used to talk to each other through the windows by using different versions of sign language with our hands (I'm fluent in several versions of sign — American sign language and a few different, improvised street signs, I'll call 'em). Everyday. We can hold entire conversations like that. I had come back in from yard and climbed up on my bed and got in the window and was trying to catch my homie so that I could figure out why he didn't go to yard that morning. Once I got his attention he told me the reason was cuz they (all of max 4) was on lockdown for a "state police investigation" for "hanging." Some young kid, who, similar to Wiley, had just made parole, or was about a month away from going to the house, I guess got tired of people picking on him and offed himself. From what I understand, anyways. He'd been hanging for hours, with a sheet over his door. Ms. Jones, a female officer, found him. She told me about it later on. And those are just the recent hangings that I, with my limited knowledge, can attest to personally. I know for a fact that there's been more since then, and tons more in the past. (At least 2 more this year alone, 2016). I can tell y'all tons more crazy shit in time. This is the worst prison in the ADC, hands down.

[Organizing] [Campaigns] [Arkansas]

Downloadable Grievance Petition, Arkansas

AR grievance petition
Click here to download a PDF
of the Arkansas grievance petition
Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with their grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses listed on the petition, and below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

Director Wendy Kelley
Arkansas Department of Corrections
PO Box 8707
Pine Bluff, AR 71611-8707

United States Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, PHB
Washington, D.C. 20530

Office of Inspector General
P.O. Box 9778
Arlington, Virginia 22219

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140
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