Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Arizona 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.

[Censorship] [Arizona]
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HRDC Forces Arizona DOC to Define Censorship Rules

Freedom is Never Free

In November the U.S. District Court ruled that the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADOC) must "establish bright-line rules that narrowly define prohibited content in a manner consistent with the First Amendment." These rules must be defined by mid-February. This ruling comes after years of censorship of a variety of publications by the ADOC, often as a result of arbitrary decisions from mail room staff.

In this case Prison Legal News (PLN) (a project of the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC)) filed a lawsuit in 2015 challenging the censorship of their newsletter for "sexually explicit" content. Ironically, the content that inspired this censorship was describing non-consensual sexual contact between guards and prisoners. And as most readers know, PLN is primarily a legal resource for prisoners fighting injustices like this prison rape.

Arizona bans a variety of publications, including issues of National Geographic, Men's Health and GQ.

Issues of Under Lock & Key are also on this banned list, though not for sexually explicit material. In the case of ULK, the most recent ban (that we know about) is ULK 63 from July/August 2018, which was banned for "Incite, Aide, Abet Riots, Work Stoppages, Means of Resistance". Many other issues of ULK sent to prisoners in Arizona are returned or rejected without reasons given. Our attempt to appeal this ban of ULK 63, requesting the ADOC provide more evidence than these vague claims resulted in the following response: "The pages identified containing such content are throughout, including, but not limited to, pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, and 17."

In an example of their arbitrary decisions around censorship, a MIM(Prisons) six-page guide to forming a prisoner-led study group was censored in 2016 because it supposedly "Promotes superiority of one group over another/promotes racism/degradation." This is exactly what MIM(Prisons) fights against: the superiority of one group of people over another. And this is exactly what the criminal injustice system promotes.

This court ruling requires the Arizona Department of Corrections to change the mail policy from allowing DOC staff to use their discretion when determining what's banned and to establish consistency in excluding sexually explicit material. This won't help MIM(Prisons) as it is rare that a prison claims ULK should be censored for sexually explicit material. But any progress towards less censorship and more narrowly defined policies is a good thing.

On October 22, in a different case, Prison Legal News was awarded $1.2 million in attorney fees by a federal district court in Florida after a nine year lawsuit over censorship of PLN publication because of ads for phone services, pen-pals and stamps. This victory came after the Supreme Court refused to take up the final appeal of this PLN ban.(1) This resulted in the case remanding back to the district court for a ruling on the attorneys' fees. Basically this means PLN won on their Due Process claims but lost on their First Amendment claims. So the censorship is still legal, but the DOC failed to follow proper censorship policy.

"Free speech isn't free," said Human Rights Defense Center executive director Paul Wright. "In this case, censorship by the Florida Department of Corrections cost state taxpayers almost $1.2 million — because of the vicious efforts by the prison system to censor HRDC's publications. The Attorney General's office spent over 3,000 hours in attorney time fighting this case. The real tragedy is that Florida prisoners remain unable to read PLN and other HRDC publications that will educate and inform them of their rights."(2)

PLN and the HRDC have done a lot to fight censorship in prisons over the years. And their hard work on this front benefits everyone seeking to help educate and organize prisoners. MIM(Prisons) doesn't generally have the resources to take on these legal battles, but we do what we can to appeal censorship and force prisons to follow at least basic rules and regulations. This censorship, and our failures in the courts prove a point we often make: under capitalism there are no rights, only power struggles.

Censorship is one of the biggest barriers to our work with prisoners. And it's an area where we always need more help, both from jailhouse lawyers and from lawyers on the streets. If your mail is censored, get in touch with us and let us know. We will send you a guide to fighting censorship and assist on our end with an appeal to the prison. And lawyers on the streets get in touch and help us with these battles!

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[Campaigns] [Arizona]
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Arizona Grievance Battle Sample Letters

Dear Administrators,

This is an official legal notice to inform you all about certain violations and misconduct transpiring here at this facility, by your prison employees. This memorandum is being sent so that you all cannot deny knowledge of situations occurring beneath your supervision. And so that petitioner/prisoners can show a judicial court of law that we did all that we could to resolve issues internally.

Jesus, his disciples, journalists and various others were murdered or severely persecuted/oppressed for exposing injustices, for speaking the truth. Therefore, it should not be difficult to believe that similar punishments are occurring here today at this facility, prisoners are suffering various punishments for exposing injustices, for filing grievances. Suffering punishments that are illegal and require correction!

Require correction in order to prevent/deter continued misconduct by prison employees who think it is okay to harass and retaliate against prisoners for their filing grievances or for whatever unwarranted reason prison employees are engaging in such vile behaviors. Correction and intervention is required in order to protect prisoners from the destruction of their personal/legal properties like written testimony from other prisoners who bore witness to certain incidents. And other evidences/exhibits being compiled to help support claims of various sorts.

Failure to adhere to this plea for help will likely result in continued abuses of authority, abuses of process, continue degrading, humiliating conditions of confinement which violate state/federal laws and constitutions. And will likely result in permanent injury, whether mentally or physically.

Prisoners’ primary problem revolves around #1 Prison officials utter disregard for their own rules and regulations that governs their duties to receive, process, investigate and respond to prisoners grievances. And #2, gravitates around prisoners suffering reprisals for their utilizing the grievance process in an attempt to resolve complaints. Some of these conspiratorial practices to violate grievance policy, and prisoners First Amendment rights, including manifold reprisals like intimidation, intimidation through the destruction of personal properties. These reprisals only compound upon the existing problems that myself and others are experiencing. The ignoring of prisoner complaints not only allows for whatever issues to continue to occur, but also encourages unruly employees who engage in out of control misbehaviors. No need to mention that this also allows illegal conduct to go on unchecked.

The grievance process is established to resolve grievances/conflicts to ease tensions at the lowest levels possible, and is/should be available to prisoners for the opportunity at informal resolution and formal review of all issues which are not informally rectified. The grievance policy also provides for timely administrative responses to submitted complaints, so that prisoners wouldn’t have to bother an already busy justice system.

Administrative personnel, the grievance officer, are responsible for promoting meaningful dialogue and timely written responses. All appropriated personnel are responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the grievance process for all the obvious reasons. And that appeals are presented to the appropriate personnel for a meaningful review. Wardens, administration etc are responsible for the wellbeing of their prison population. And not just form risks posed form other prisoner, but also against those risks and dangers being inflicted by out of control prison employees. The grievance process is really the only way us prisoners have to present and alert prison officials of any risk or harm. Really the only way to safeguard prisoners from whatever they might be experiencing. The grievance policy should not be ignored, and neither should this memorandum.

Please adjust the following to your own states constitutions.

Under article 11 section 5 of the Arizona constitution, the right to petition and the right of people to peacefully protest/assemble for the common good, shall never be abridged. The universal declaration of human rights, guaranteed under article 8: Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by a competent tribunal for any acts that violate fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution or by law.

And although prison officials can ban certain protests like mass groupings to protest conditions of confinement so long as prisoners have other ways to voice their grievance complaints i.e. the grievance process. See Duamutef v. O’Keefe, 98 F.3d 22 (2nd Cir 1996). BUT – prison officials CANNOT retaliate neither harass prisoners for utilizing the grievance process to complain about wrongs being committed.

However, when myself and others attempt to or actually exercise our rights to make use of the grievance process prison officials join together to deter, harass, and retaliate against prisoners using a combination of ways that also include #1. refusal to acknowledge/investigate, or respond to submitted grievances. #2. Make false claims that they never received complaints. #3. They also hinder, obstruct justice, lose supporting documents/evidences. #4 Prevent prisoners from filing or being heard on appeal. #5. Illegally destroy, intercept incoming/outgoing legal mail, to prevent filing with the courts. And a slew of other unethical reactions like false misconduct reports adverse/unjustified misclassification etc.

These are but a few of their dirty tricks, and these practices violate conspiracy laws like Title 42 U.S.C 1995(3) & 1986. And are underhanded attempts to assail our efforts to be heard, and to exhaust our internal administrative remedies, which we believe is in an attempt to circumvent the judicial process as 42 U.S.C – 1997e states no action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of the same title, until such internal administrative remedies are exhausted. Prison officials are deliberately ignoring prisoner complaints, in an attempt to lie/allege failure to exhaust as one of their affirmative defenses a practice that should never be tolerated!

Prisoners obligation to exhaust under the prison litigation reform act or other provisions, only applies, as long as some remedy remains available or a prisoner has been reliably informed that administrative remedies are not available (Brown v. Valoff 422, F.3d 935 (9th Cir 2005). The supreme court requires prisoners to exhaust administrative remedies only to the extent that a remedy remains available, before petitioning for judicial intervention/review. However, this process has become unfair and difficult as prison employees are violating the grievance process and tampering with legal documents/evidence.

Prison employees need to be informed and made to understand the reality of law, that grievances filed through the official grievance procedure, are constitutionally protected. And prison employees deliberate interference with the procedure and retaliations thereafter could/will result in civil and prosecutorial penalties. In conclusion, these problems permeate through to the whole prison population and adversely affect the vast majority. Some prisoners even decline to utilize the grievance process for fear of reprisals, many have been witnesses to these problems going on unchecked and see their fellow prisoners to continue to experience these aforementioned misconducts that are going on with impunity, this creating a whole other set of problems that affects prisoners mental and physical wellbeing. And an internal investigation should ensue.

We persist amidst the onslaught of reprisals so the truth can be told, and to seek justice/correction for all the violations occurring here at your facility.

Thank you for your time and attention. Please acknowledge and respond.


Respectfully submitted
Signature_________________________
Address________________________
CC: ____________________
State of (fill in name)
County of (fill in name)
In the (insert name of superior court or judicial district court)
Case # (initially leave blank, court will assign a #)

(Your name here) Petitioner
v.
(Their name here) Respondents

Petition for a protective/injunctive relief order

Comes now petitioner, respectfully petitioning this court for a protective injunctive relief order, to protect petitioner, his or her rights, personal properties like legal documents and evidences against destruction, harassments or other misconducts by respondents while petitioner seeks to rectify grievances via the grievance process, and then judicially.

Because abuse of authority and internal corruption exists and violations of and conspiracy to violate petitioners First Amendment rights petitioner requires a protective injunctive relief order.

Respondents are infamous for issuing threats to unlawfully segregate prisoners without due process on trumped up charges, or famous for utilizing their authority position to intimidate prisoners for using the grievance process or for pursuing judicial intervention.

Respondents prison officials have already implied their intention to issue reprisals [be sure you include relevant information surrounding your situation to help justify the courts needing to grant your petition. You can even express your not being secure in your persons and effects.]

It would be useful if you did a little bit of legal reading to help you orient yourself. It is not complicated give yourself a chance you might be surprised besides you are going to have to insert your own states statutes or refer to certain court rules if need be. But it sure beats just letting them win and simply do whatever to us, the struggle is real.

Keep in mind this is only an example make adjustments as you see fit.

You can also petition the court for an injunctive relief order in a similar manner, under their duty to investigate and respond to grievance complaints, attach the grievance policy as an exhibit indicate the petition is required to protect and prevent serious harm or other risks that prison personnel are recklessly disregarding.

Afterward you ask for a specific relief like for an order ordering prison officials to begin responding to grievances etc,

by
Wherefore petitioner respectfully asks this court to
#1 order respondents to
#2
#3

All prisons have notaries: be sure to get a notary seal or declare under penalty of perjury that the facts contained in the complaint/petition are true and correct

Signature ________________
Address__________________
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[Abuse] [Hunger Strike] [Arizona State Prison Complex Central Unit] [Arizona]
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Hunger strike to stop abuse in Arizona

I'm writing to request assistance with my imminent hunger strike, commencing 12/8/2017. You can help by calling the prison, repetitively and constantly, urging them to resolve the inhumane and unconstitutional conditions of confinement and mistreatment prison officials are subjecting me to here in Kasson Unit, which are enumerated below.

I've submitted dozens of Releases of Information to Kasson's Mental Health Lead, Dr. Tracy Rogers, my therapist/advocate. The R.O.I.s allow her to discuss with you all matters concerning me. They allow ADC to do the same. Rogers and my mother (who is also the legal agent of my powers of attorney) are well-informed of these strike issues and can help you help me. I strongly urge you contact both to coordinate the best possible plan of advocacy for resolution. However, please do not hesitate to call in now. Ask for resolution. Demand it.

I went through a similar strike in Sep., 2017. It lasted 13 days. I lost 26 lbs., or 14% of my body mass. Prison officials, during the strike, seemed willing, eager, to resolve the issues, but, as soon as I ended the strike (because they promised concessions and resolutions), they reneged and let the issues go unresolved. In fact, more issues have risen since, and they continue to perpetrate and ignore them.

Please know that prison officials here, including mental health staff, can force me to be placed in the Mental Health Suicide Watch Pod. There, I will be stripped of all clothing, property, hygiene - everything. I will not be able to write, send personal or legal mail, work on my civil rights cases and appeals. Placement in Watch is purely retaliation and serves no purpose other than to act as a deterrent. Watch cells are filthy, never cleaned, cold. I'll receive no recreation or out-of-cell time. They'll be treating me worse than a dog at the pound on the eve of being euthanized. That is the ethos of Kasson Unit.

Kasson Unit is rife with staff misconduct, psychological torture, psychological and sexual abuse by staff, illegal destruction of personal property (a violation of A.R.S. §31-228(A)), and other unconstitutional and illegal acts and procedures of prison officials. Kasson is the most corrupt, broken unit I've been in in my entire 12.5 years in ADC. The misconduct is systemic, and very few staff have managed to avoid the pool of corruption.

This hunger strike is my last resort, my only recourse, so please help me urge them, these government officials who are paid with your tax dollars, to grant resolutions before things worsen. This strike is about finding justice, equality, fair and humane treatment, and human decency. The issues I'm trying to resolve are described below. Thank you very much for your concern and solidarity.

1. Kasson Unit must eliminate the extreme cockroach infestation. Each 4-man pod has thousands of roaches, each cell hundreds. They crawl everywhere: walls, floors, ceiling, property, clothing, bed, even my body, while sleeping. Staff have even delivered my food with roaches in it. They refuse to properly address the problem, will not pay their contracted exterminators the required amount to actually exterminate them. In my 15 months here they've sprayed a minimal amount of pesticide in the cells only twice. It is extremely unsanitary.

2. Since Jan, 2017, mail room, at Sgt. J. Ramos' direction, has been returning to sender all incoming books and magazines I subscribe to, in violation of my First Amendment rights. They falsely claim I have in my possession more than the allowed limit of books (10) and magazines (5). They do this because I challenge their illegal exclusions and censorship of certain magazines, such as Esquire, US Weekly, Cosmopolitan, etc. They figure that if they return to sender all publications, I won't be able to appeal censorship. They allow, seldomly, only secular publications, another First Amendment violation.

3. Staff, including C.O.3 Oswald, C.O.4 Castorena, and Dep. Warden Montano, refuse to allow me reasonable - or any - telephonic access to call my attorneys of record. This is causing irreparable damage to my legal cases and is highly unconstitutional. Pima Co. Judge Godoy has ordered an inquiry into this matter, but staff continue to refuse any legal calls, since Feb, 2017.

4. Staff must provide me with unfettered access to grievance forms, per policy (D.O. B02.01.1.7) and the Redress of Grievances clause of the First Amendment, but they consistently deny them. Additionally, Oswald refused to respond to most of my informal grievances, though his job, and policy (D.O. 802.02.13), mandates Responses. Their justification for this is that I "file too many grievances." There is no limit for filing grievances. Also, Grievance Coordinator Castorena refuses to process valid grievances, instead returning them "processed" under false pretexts, in violation of the grievance policy. 4(A) This issue is compounded by staff's refusal to properly address the problem. All staff, including Central Office, Admin., Programs and Security, routinely refuse to respond to my Inmate Letters, in violation of D.O. 916. They claim they never received them, though I retain proof of receipt by staff. They are attempting to effectively silence me. They must respond to all Inmate Letter forms. 4(B) This matter also relates to issue #2, as Florence Complex Publication Review staff commonly refuse to acknowledge receipt of my Exclusion Appeals, a Due Process violation.

5. Staff will not respect my Right to Education. They allowed me to begin earning my paralegal degree from Blackstone Career Inst. in May, 2017, but have returned to sender all course materials since June, relying on unconstitutional prison policies as a justification. This is a self-pay course, which will improve my life and reduce chances of recidivism upon release. This prison must allow me to resume this course.

6. I have a Special Needs Order (S.N.O.) for sunglasses, to help me treat my photosensitivity. I've had approved sunglasses sent in but Property Officer C.O.2 M. Del Valle refuses to give them to me, without any justification. Exposure to bright light causes migraines. My sunglasses have been sent in previously, but staff stole them. Now this pair is in jeopardy of being stolen, or "lost."

7. Property Officer Del Valle is violating prison policies and AZ (ARS §31-228(A)) by destroying my property. She refuses to allow me to return to sender non-allowable items (e.g. photos, etc.) received via mail, in violation of D.O. 909.06.1.2.2 & 07.1.5.4. She instead decides to illegally destroy it.

8. Staff are withholding my TV because I'm serving Loss of Privilege (LOP) disciplinary sanctions, though they permit everybody else on LOP to retain/possess their TV. They single me out because I file so many grievances and lawsuits, which other prisoners are afraid to do for fear of retaliation - like having appliances seized.

9. In July, 2017, staff inappropriately placed me under protective custody (P.C.) without providing me any notice (Due Process). Placing me under PC was retaliation, an attack on my pride and integrity, and is totally unwarranted. They claim it was due to a single written threat on my safety. 9(A) Further, Dep. Warden Mortano refuses to process my requests to be removed from P.C., a violation of D.O. 805. (See also:4(A))

10. Mail Room staff are enforcing unfair, unconstitutional and illegal mail policies, which must cease. D.O. 914.02.1.5, 1.5.1, 1.5.1.2, 1.5.2, 05.1.3, 1.3.2, 1.5, 1.5.4 and 1.8 allow staff to read, seize and withhold incoming and outgoing mail if staff, regardless of rank, don't like or find offensive the content of the personal correspondence. I've personally been aggrieved of this issue. The policies & procedures are totally unconstitutional, too vague, and illegal. 10(A) Additionally, staff refuse to allow self-addressed stamped envelopes (SASEs) to be received unless they are sent from a secular (Christian) group. They routinely seize SASEs sent from non-secular groups, a violation of D.O. 914.01.1.2.2 and the First Amendment. (I declare under penalty of perjury the foregoing is true and correct.)

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[Medical Care] [Drugs] [Arizona State Prison Complex Eyman SMUII] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 59]
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Corizon Running Drugs to Control AZ Prisoners

Drugs in prison is a sensitive topic in the convict world. Being that I live in it and that I am STG'd out here in Arizona, I will refrain from speaking/writing about the illegal kind as here in solitary they are not as prevalent as they are out there on the yards. I will not lie though, and say that they are non-existent here, as all convicts know "where there is a will, there is a way." But what I mean is that there is no one all strung out or in debt and so forth.

The number one drug here is the pills that the contract medical provider, Corizon Health, Inc., is giving to everyone, i.e. the legal kind. These prescription drugs that come in the guise of treatment are what reigns supreme here in SMU. You don't even have to wait for visit on the weekends like on the yard. No way not here, here they are passed out on the daily, twice a day, even three times a day to some. These drugs are prescribed by so called "clinicians who use an evidence based approach to treat conditions such as yours which includes maximizing formulary medication use while providing safe and effective treatment," to quote Corizon staff verbatim. This is actually impossible as you cannot eyeball someone and use that as your evidence. That is just a guess, and not an educated one.

Now that they have taken actual pain medication, which is only gabapentin, a pill to treat nerve damage, Corizon staff have been directed to prescribe psych drugs in replacement. So instead of further treatment that include MRIs, EMG treatment, physical therapy, or a range of other options, they are taking away a drug that works, to prescribe you an anti-depressant for pain management as if the depression from you being here was causing you pain and not the stenosis in your neck, AC joint separation, nerve damage, etc. This psych med is like the commercials that you see on TV where the side effect is diarrhea, headache, etc.

The system gives you these legal drugs instead of approving further treatment because MRIs cost money, and outside care visits cost money. So they want you on psych meds to have you walking around like a zombie or not so depressed from being STG'd and housed in solitary. Even the law firms and organizations representing us in Parsons v. Ryan are aware, yet choose to do nothing. Corizon staff and Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) staff actually tell you to seek outside legal representation, like a dare! But while all we want is to be treated for our injuries and not drugs, ADC will not step in nor will our so-called legal team. Instead, our drugs at this unit are more habit-forming and more highly accessible than the illegal kind, and will continue to be supplied by our very own med provider Corizon, and all legally.

ADC will just allow this to continue to take place and protect their mule, Corizon, just like the drug cartels in the motherland. This is ADC's "plaza" and Corizon will continue to funnel drugs all over the state of Arizona, not through tunnels, planes, boats, or on foot but right through the front gate with a badge and a greeting, service with a smile!


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer brings up an important point about drugs in prison. The problem isn't just illegal drugs numbing minds and harming bodies, it's also legal drugs being prescribed by the prison medical teams to keep the population pacified. This pacification happens through the action of anti-depressants and anti-psychotics, which can dull all emotions, and also through addictive drugs like pain meds. Instead of treating the real problems, both physical and emotional, that are caused by years of living in the harmful conditions of Amerikan prisons, prison medical staff just treat the symptoms, if they offer any treatment at all.

From the capitalist perspective, in the short term providing inadequate health care and getting people addicted to pacifying drugs is an effective way to control costs and control the prison population. But in the long term this makes no sense, even for the capitalists. Health problems left untreated will only get worse as people age, and become more expensive to deal with. Further, releasing prisoners addicted to pain killers or other drugs does not lead to productive life on the streets.

This only makes sense in the context of a criminal injustice system that wants to maintain a revolving door of an expanding prison population. One that doesn't care if prisoners live or die, as long as they stay passive. While it may be true that cost is part of the reason good treatment isn't provided, Amerikans are happy to spend lots of money on prisons in general. Spending all that money is justified because the prisons provide an effective tool of social control, targeting oppressed nations and all who resist the capitalist system. The drugs given to prisoners behind bars are just one part of that control.

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[Abuse] [Hunger Strike] [Arizona]
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Persynal Hunger Strike in Arizona Against Retaliation and Abuse

I am writing to inform you that I am commencing a hunger strike on 2017 September 9, to continue until the below issues are resolved. These issues are regarding equal treatment, retaliation, legal rights, First Amendment rights, staff misconduct and conditions of confinement. The Warden is Kevin Curran. The Deputy Warden is Ruben Montano. The Chief of Security is Rodrick Williams, a captain. I am in Kasson Unit. Mental Health Dr. Tracy Rogers is advocating for me. She is well informed. She's trying to help my situation, but is up against security and administration.

List of Hunger Strike Resolutions:

  1. Allow me to resume taking my paralegal correspondence course
  2. Rescind the ban on all my incoming magazines and books
  3. Give me my TV from property office
  4. Give me my prescription eyeglasses from property
  5. Allow me to receive sunglasses in accordance with my Special Needs Order
  6. Remove me from Protective Custody (PC) status
  7. Provide me unfettered access to grievance forms
  8. Provide me with regularly scheduled legal calls to my attorneys
  9. Conduct legal box exchanges in accordance with policy
  10. Allow me to do book exchanges with my personal books in property

1. Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) allowed me to begin the course, via Blackstone Career Institution. I aced the first exam. My tuition sponsor (my mom) and I entered into a $800 enrollment agreement, only to be told by ADC I could not continue the course because maximum custody prisoners cannot take correspondence courses. I am no longer a max custody inmate; I've lowered my score. I am now close custody, but ADC still won't allow me to resume the course. This course will help me. It will improve my life, and my chances at staying out of prison upon release. I guess the prison doesn't want that.

2. In Jan 2017 the mail room began enforcing an illegal ban on all my incoming books and magazines because I would regularly appeal their censorship of publications. Presently, I subscribe to more than 20 magazines and newsletters. ADC returns all to sender without giving me a chance to appeal. The same is done with books.

3. I am serving over 3 years of disciplinary Loss of Privilege (LOP) sanctions, including loss of appliances. ADC is withholding my TV in property. But I am the only one in Kasson Unit Wing One being subject to loss of appliances. Everyone else on LOP is allowed to retain their TV and appliances. They single me out because I file so many grievances and some civil rights lawsuits, which other prisoners are scared to do.

4. ADC said my mom could send in prescription eyeglasses, then withheld them upon arrival. They've been held in property since May 2017 and are medically necessary. They comply with all ADC policies.

5. In retaliation for my grievances on mail room, mail room staff keep returning to sender my medical sunglasses under false pretexts. I have a medical Special Needs Order for them. And I've previously had sunglasses here at Browning Unit, both max custody units.

6. ADC placed me under protective custody without notifying me, violating due process. They put me in PC without cause, as an insult to my integrity and pride. There is no need or justification to put/keep me under PC status.

7. Prison staff refuse to provide me with the grievance forms I require to proceed in the grievance process, in violation of their own policy (D.O.802) and my First amendment right to redress of grievances. My COIII (counselor), Mr. A. Oswald, refuses to provide me with the forms, as do all staff, who tell me they've been ordered not to give them to me.

8. My C.O.III, who's backed by ADC administration on this, refuses to provide me with any legal calls to my two criminal attorneys and my civil rights counsel, all of whom are attorneys-of-regard. This violates my constitutional rights to speak with and consult with my lawyers, and is causing irreparable damage to my cases.

9. Kasson property officer Ms. T. Williams repeatedly violates policy (D.O. 909) by not allowing me to do legal box exchanges. Property is to conduct exchanges within 3 days of the request. I submited weekly, for the past 4 months and she allowed only 1 exchange. Because I'm only permitted to possess 4 of my 16 legal boxes in my cell, this violation prohibits me from accessing vital legal documents and thus hinders my ability to adequately litigate my cases. I've filed many grievances on Williams, and this is her retaliation.

10. I have several personal books in property. Williams's superiors at Central Office have ordered her to allow me to do book exchanges, but she refuses to let me. This has been going on for one year, since my 7 September 2016 arrival to Kasson. I simply wish to read my books.

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[Campaigns] [Arizona State Prison Complex Eyman SMUII] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 57]
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Medical Care in Arizona's Solitary

I'm writing from Arizona solitary confinement, aka SMU2, to let others know what is going on with the corrupt medical grievance process. Recently a memo was passed out that all medical grievances are now to be treated differently and go through Corizon staff, which is the contracted company that provides health treatment to Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC). This process consists of only 2 steps, which are an "informal resolution complaint" and then the "grievance." Both are to go through the Facility Health Administrator (FHA), which allows for no transparency nor checks and balances. Since this change in the grievance procedure, not one "informal resolution complaint" form has been replied to in accordance to ADC's Department Order #802 "Inmate Grievance System", that is set up to oversee this process.

So after the FHA does not respond, one has to move on to the grievance per this policy. The grievances are not delivered back for 1 to 2 months, and this only due to me writing to a CCO3 (counselor) to inquire about replies. The replies are pretty generic and consist of responses like "your complaint has been forwarded to..." "your complaint is substantiated..." etc. and that the grievance is resolved. Yet nothing is done and there is no type of appeal to this, so no other remedy can be sought as the process is exhausted here.

Before, the process wasn't much better but it would go through 4 steps as a way to oversee this process. I have sought remedy through this process on many occasions, so many as a matter of fact that I have actually had 2 meetings with the FHA. At the latest one, she personally resolved a grievance by renewing one of my prescriptions. Yet these prescriptions were not renewed and instead were allowed to expire without any type of tapering or alternative treatment in place. So I am at a loss as to what my next step is, as even when a grievance is granted it is not followed through on.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a couple of other law firms actually have a lawsuit on behalf of ADC prisoners named Parsons v. Ryan which is not even being adhered to, as the ACLU recently filed a motion showing that ADC was not in compliance with this lawsuit. Being that the suit is not for monetary compensation to the actual plaintiffs, being us, the ACLU gets their so-called expenses paid as well as the fine, which in this last case was a cool $2 million.

ADC would rather pay the fine than provide adequate health care as it is much cheaper to do so, and they will continue to do so because it will save them a ton of money! I have written the ACLU in Washington and the Arizona ACLU, as well as the Prison Law Office out of San Quentin who are the attorneys in charge of the lawsuit and all that they do is forward my informal grievances and HNRs to each other as well as shoot me one another's addresses for me to contact them. The replies are to grieve it, which I have, and the grievances were substantiated and granted yet I am here in my little cell without treatment as I write these very words.

Any ideas of what to do next would be greatly appreciated! I let the FHA know that this type of deliberate indifference and derelict of duty would not be allowed in any other type of medical treatment setting. Therefore why is it allowed here in SMU2? If anyone has suggestions on how to proceed please contact MIM(Prisons) for me, thank you.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer provides yet another good example of the failure of prison grievance systems as well as the courts. In this case Arizona has set up a system that just wastes prisoners' time while offering no accountability, even when grievances and Court Orders are granted.

It is for situations like this that the campaign to demand our grievances be addressed was initiated. We have a petition pertaining to Arizona State Prison that could be modified for this battle in solitary confinement. While these petitions don't often win the battles for us immediately, they help us build support by spreading the campaign to others and giving them specific actions they can take. At the same time we're all too well aware that prisons don't have an interest in addressing grievances. Anything that costs more money or requires more services, or that forces COs to treat prisoners with respect and dignity, is going to be a hard battle. The criminal injustice system is set up to do the opposite, and so we will have to fight for each right. Write to us to get a copy of the Arizona petition to modify for this battle.

While grievances and courts fail, we learn the same lesson over and over again — that legal battles will not get us where we need to be, to a world without oppression. Court cases and grievance campaigns sometimes win some victories, that is true. But for long-lasting change we really need to organize with each other, build unity, educate and struggle together to force change. We hope this correspondent will take this failure of the courts as inspiration to try a different method of resolution.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Mental Health] [Arizona State Prison Complex Eyman SMUI] [Arizona]
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Arizona Isolation Unit is State Run Psychological Torture

I'm in the Violent Control Unit (VCU) in Florence, Arizona at ASPC Eyman - SMU I, locked away in deplorable conditions far worse than regular isolation. This unit was customarily reserved for the severely mentally ill or for prisoners with unpopular views. "The unmanageable." The cell fronts are covered with a Plexiglas shield. There is no form of human contact in isolation. No window to the outside world. Recreation consists of four concrete (twenty foot high walls), which begins by being strip searched and then shackles are placed behind our back. Visits are non-contact for two hours that are separated by Plexiglas window, no hole in the middle to speak through or phones only a mesh screen about an inch wide along the edges of the window.

One of the many repressive tactics ADC continues to use against me is deliberately placing me in the treacherous shadows of the severely mentally ill who require serious psychiatric care. Their intended purpose is to cause psychological torture. Each prisoner is placed in direct ear shot of each other in small eight man clusters where the mentally ill bang, scream, cry, mutilate and kill themselves. Paranoia, delusions and homicidal rage begins to consume a person's mind. Prisoners are stripped of all personal property and 24 hour illumination is endless. Stripped of all humanity except the right to remain alive.

During my second day in VCU I was food poisoned by ADC staff. The extended days, freezing nights, constant loud noises, cell walls smeared with feces, tasers, sadistic guards and K-9 dogs during this vicious era provided me with a fierce desire to stand up and speak out against inhumane conditions. I was no longer innocent, yet I discovered a deep-seated purpose to survive. For years ADC denied that such unit existed until a seasoned jailhouse lawyer — Mr. James Skinner — magically appeared and dismantled it by using a 1983 civil rights action in 2007.

I've spent the previous fourteen years of my life in prison learning to read, write, survive and acquire enough legal skills to navigate myself and others through the state and federal court system. Most prisoners in state prison can't afford to hire a lawyer and are usually ill-equipped to enforce their own constitutional rights in court. The systemic deficiencies in our court system is designed to deprive us of the very thing it portrays — justice. It instead serves as a smoke screen to legitimize our mass incarceration epidemic. The hyper-technicalities and court rules makes it virtually impossible to overcome this oppressive scheme. Nonetheless, I've made significant progress in locating the barriers that prevents our voices from being heard and I've articulated a path toward reaching equality, to overcome the impediment that has kept us voiceless and faceless. Solitary confinement either brings out the best or the worse in us.

In 2012, I became involved as a class action representative contesting ADC's unconstitutional practice of housing prisoners with pre-existing mental illnesses in isolation. Despite extensive research from several human right organizations and highly qualified mental health experts into my social history and the psychological effect my confinement has had on me including stipulations between the ACLU and ADC condemning the use of long-term isolation, ADC officials continue to profit from this unpredictable choice of rehabilitation. Holding prisoners in long-term isolation is more than inhumane — it's detrimental to our physical health.

The eighth amendment prohibits the use of chemical agents on prisoners taking psychotropic medication because it effects the bodies ability to regulate heat and greatly increases the risk of heat related illnesses. Yet, ADC continues to use chemical agents against me as a form of a sporting event. My day to day regimen depends largely on the uncertainty of suicide. You slowly lose your grip on your willingness to survive, it's uncontrollable!

Just so we're clear, the law says the punishment for being convicted of a crime is the prison sentence, but the law enforcement community see the prison as a place to inflict terror and abuse upon its prisoners until all hope for humanity is lost. Prison is an unrelenting machine turning societies under-privileged around and around, faster and faster in a vicious cycle of misery, brutality, frame-ups and assassinations. It is well-documented in my institutional file that my name and number have appeared on a multitude of New Mexican Mafia "kill lists." Despite knowledge of this information ADC has knowingly placed me on the same tier with known enemies, I've been involved in multiple stabbings and vicious assaults.

It's clear as day prison only serves as a basis for recidivism and is designed to encourage violence, drug abuse, to disproportionately imprison people from low-income communities and with time has shown the "war on drugs" rhetoric was in fact propagated to thwart the civilization of a less popular class. State law prohibits educational programs for prisoners housed in solitary confinement, transitional programs from solitary to society or from isolation to a less-restrictive environment are crucial in reducing the recidivism rate, yet they're non-existent. Why? We're deprived of our strongest source of liberation. Lawmakers have an inherited process of discrediting and demoralizing the integrity of the elementary rights of prisoners all across the county. The target of this false premise is not only us but the U.S. Constitution itself.

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[Abuse] [Medical Care] [Arizona State Prison Complex Perryville Lumley] [Arizona]
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Arizona Wimmin's Prison Lack Proper Shelter from Elements, Medical and Supplies

This prison is a mess and should be condemned. Here are some of the things that are going on:

1) Our cells are steel and brick. The heat this winter is being turned on from 9 p.m. - 6 a.m. Temperatures have been high of 50 and lows of 30. The warden, Ms. Frigo, stated to the officers "Tell them to put on their jackets and blankets. I don't care how cold it is." In the summer when temperatures are 115, we only have swamp coolers and swamp coolers don't work over 90 and the rooms are 90.

2) Last year in the winter, there was a power outage and after a couple days they brought in backup generators. The 36 yard wasn't even given extra blankets for the cold.

3) The power went out one day this summer during lockdown and the officers wouldn't open the doors to let air into the rooms and the temperatures were over a 100.

4) I put in an HNR (medical request) for back and knee pain in June 2015. After 7 HNR requests, I was finally seen 6 months later in December. The health care is horrible here. Check to see how many women have died here in the last 2 years because of improper health care. Women have complained of chest pain and other issues and are sent back to their cell and told there is nothing wrong, to drink water and take an aspirin.

6) Improper nutrition - we get milk 3-4 times a week, and no real fresh fruit because everything is canned. We have been fed molded bread, eggs are a treat, we get a hot breakfast, hot lunch, and cold sandwiches for dinner.

7) Indigent people are not given sweats, thermals or long sleeve shirts or hats in the winter. No shorts in the summer. People purchase clothing that can't be taken out of the prison when released but we aren't allowed to give them to the indigent people. Why do we need to purchase clothing in prison or be without?

8) We sleep on steel beds with a 2-inch mattress and no pillows, unless you have money to buy a real pillow during a fundraiser.

9) There are black widows and brown recluse spiders, bugs and ants in the rooms. I reported that we had an ant infestation in our room to the Sergeant and Lieutenant and was told there's nothing that they can do and have to wait for an exterminator. When the exterminator came they only sprayed the kitchen and officer box and did not go into the rooms. We have put grease and pepper in the window to keep out the ants.

10) In the town hall meetings the Deputy Warden continues to state there is no money for anything. We use bed sheets for shower curtains. There is mold in the showers.

11) We are given 1 roll of toilet paper a week, and if you need more you have to buy your own from the store.

12) Jobs pay $0.10 - $0.50. We also pay $100 towards a gate fee that we receive upon release, $2/mo to utilities, 1% is taken out of money sent from our families and from our pay, to pay for the building fund.

13) In the summer 2015 the temperature was over 100, the water pipes busted on the 34 yard so they had no water and all that we have are swamp coolers. So for 2 days there was no cool air. They brought in 1 porta-a-potty for over 200 women to use in the yard. There was no coolers, no showers, no sinks and no toilets.

14) No rehabilitation. We are told there is not enough money for programs. There are no incentives for people to do better.

15) Another time in the summer of 2015 the temperature was way over 100 and the power went out because of a storm. There were no backup generators so we had to sleep with the doors open all night. Inmates slept on the floor just to get air. Power was finally restored around 2-3 a.m.

16) We are given 1 pack of sanitary pads once a month and they limit what we purchase in hygienes.

17) There are signs around the prison that say "don't drink water".

18) There is a woman on 34 yard who was bleeding for months and she kept putting in HNRs and was continuously told there was nothing wrong. Finally 8 months later she was sent to a specialist and told she had cervical cancer that was so far progressed all they could do was put her on chemo and radiation to slow it down. She was told her time is limited and she's going to die.

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[Campaigns] [Download and Print] [Civil Liberties] [Abuse] [Censorship] [Arizona]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, Arizona

Arizona Petition
Click to Download PDF of Arizona Petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones inside who are experiencing issues with the 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 below, which are also on the petition itself. Supporters should send letters of support on behalf of prisoners.

Warden
(specific to your facility)

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

ADC Office of Inspector General
Mail Code 930
801 South 16th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85034

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

Senator John McCain
4703 S. Lakeshore Drive, Suite 1
Tempe, AZ 80282

Representative Raul Grijalva
810 E. 22nd Street, Suite 102
Tucson, AZ 85713

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

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

*Petition updated January 2012, July 2012, December 2014, October 2017, and April 2019*

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