Prisoners Report on Conditions in

California 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] [Abuse] [Legal] [Grievance Process] [California] [Florida] [ULK Issue 79]
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California Move to Digitize Communications Impedes Civil Rights (after Florida Just Did)

The truth has finally out come from the darkness and into the light: people housed within social isolation by the U.$. criminal justice system are not considered persons protected by the U.$. Constitution, international agreements against torture, or Human Rights. States across the United $tates are actively deploying systems and protocols that suspend persons held in custody, in social isolation from Amerikan society, away from the protections of law, due process and order.

The criminal justice trend is to eliminate prisoners’ freedom to use and access Postal Services. It’s like the U.$. Postal Service has entered into a private agreement with the criminal justice system to deny mailing services of the traditional sense from all imprisoned.

Correction departments across the U.$. have engaged in concerted acts of sedition, substituting systems disguised as fun helpful tablet gadgets and video visitation programs for actual social interactions. Gone are the days of free assembly/press/congregation and religious exercise. Now persons are free to shut up, and be retaliated against for even hoping to benefit from the protections of the U.$ Constitution’s freedom of speech.

Even the freedom to grieve against the state has been frozen. In California it is being done under the departments decision to cease classical mailing processes for email services made available by the Global Tel Link security corporation. CDCR is planning to phase out all traditional mailing services in exchange for heavily restricted online access.

The move by CDCR involves outsourcing labour facilities and redirecting institutional service agreements to security bonds controlled by state agencies outside of the department’s jurisdiction, for example, the Department of Health and Human Services. The moves are being made under the cover of darkness, better yet the cover of claims to public safety, and the Center for Disease Control acts as the shelter. All in the name of mental health and hospitality for Amerikans with disability? From prisoners of circumstance to residences of outpatient facilities too doped out of their minds to even know the value of a traditional letter.

CDCR has began phasing out traditional mailing services using its Inmate 602 Grievance Procedures, institutions have eliminated traditional answering and mailing procedures for residence. Not only does the department rely on a new SOMS computer scanning system that forecloses any original writings and supporting information attached to an Inmate grievance, but it is enforcing computer software coding, by way of its Global-Tel Link tablet emails, that requires California prisoners to email grievances. This last part connects to the criminal justice system in the late requirements of U.S District Courts in California for 1983 Civil complaints filed by prisoners be done via email. If an individual can’t even write a simple complaint any longer, it begs to question what is the U.$. standing in justice?

Technological advances are all good and all, but are the residence of these penal institutions still citizens of the United Snakes of Amerika? Or does their custody lie somewhere else?

It is important that the public be aware of this very serious dynamic between themselves, the state and those in custody of state agencies like CDCR. The state is allowing for those in the custody of CDCR to be stripped of their civil rights and it all is being done in the name of the people, under the color of law. Silence is not an answer to the claims set forth against the people.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Prison Legal News (PLN) just reported some interesting stats following the Florida Department of Corrections completing its move to digitizing all regular correspondence. They found that 1% of the contraband found by the Florida DOC was through routine mail. Meanwhile, in July 2022, the Legislative Finance Committee noted that after New Mexico shifted to digitized mail there was zero effect on the amount of drug use in their prisons.(1) These statistics back up what we’ve been reporting on anectdotally for years – that mail restrictions and visitation shut downs have had no impact on the influx of drugs into prisons across the country.(2)

According to PLN prison systems and jails in 27 states have switched to digitized mail. With California gearing up to follow suit, it seems the tides have shifted in that direction.

Like body cams, some prisoners have asked for digital grievance systems so the C.O. you submit it too can’t just drop it in the trashcan. Otherwise, we agree with this comrade’s concerns. Social isolation is a violation of basic humyn rights and humyn needs. Visits, phone calls, letter, photos and cards are a must for any system that hopes to rehabilitate.

Notes: 1. Kevin Bliss, 1 September 2022, Florida Now Digitizing Incoming Mail for State Prisoners, Prison Legal News September, 2022, page 48.
2. A Texas Prisoner, March 2021, TDCJ: Your Staff are Bringing in the Drugs, and it Must Stop, Under Lock & Key No. 73.

Prison Legal News
P.O. Box 1151
Lake Worth Beach, FL 33460
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[Prison Food] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Top Ramen Prices Rise in CA

Sorry I haven’t been able to send any stamps, ever since Russia invaded Ukraine the store prices went way up. We get about half of what we got before for $60 a month, and here it’s even worse than my previous location.

Soups - Top Ramen only went up $0.05 each from $0.25 to $0.30 each. When I got to Corcoran State Prison one Top Ramen is $0.45 each. They stay overcharging us and our families. On the streets it’s 10 to 12 Top Ramen for a $1, and in prison Top Ramen is the #1 seller so they probably pay 2 or 3 cents each. Everything else went way up too, it’s crazy and bullshit.

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[Abuse] [Grievance Process] [Legal] [Political Repression] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California] [ULK Issue 79]
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CA Grievance Victory; Bring Staff Misconduct to Executive and Legislative Branches

Closing August 2022 with actions waged against the state of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR’s) deliberate and intentional acts of sedition, systematic race crime, police gangs, mass insurance fraud, healthcare system abuse, etc. Members of United Struggle from Within (USW), Prisoners Legal Clinic - JLS, Lumpen Organizations Consolidated On 1 (LOCO1 United Front for Peace in Prisons) and ABOSOL7 say, “We Charge Genocide!”

In response to CDCr appeal #000000243827 (Deliberately denied access to CDCR 602 form (Rev. 03/20) in housing facility), the Department grants the claims set forth that corruptions officers employed at California State Prison - Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC) are involved in a concerted scheme of withholding revised models of CDCr grievance forms from the inmate population.

After being ignored at the institutional level where administrative executives maintain a strict code of silence to officer misconduct, an Associate Warden made a computer entry on a record affiliated with the log number that the claims would be remanded for decision to an unknown entity on an unknown date. Though the appeal on its face, if found true would most definitely qualify under employee misconduct, that is a candidate for a staff/citizens’ complaint.

As citizens’ complaints are reportable on direct appeal to any federal county police agencies for public-civil prosecution, the issue of intentional mis-handling of an appeal process was exhausted to the state capitol by means of the Chief of Inmate Appeals, and favor has been found for the freedom fighters.

Now we call on the struggle to burn strong.

We shall demand Senate hearing and investigations be held on the subject of police gangs within the department promoting “don’t ask, don’t tell” climates amongst the population, by way of withholding access to the forms designed for speaking up and challenging abuse.

This is made known as a public service to the prison population to wean itself off of depending on the court system as it is conditioned into them to be. In order to not only relieve the stress on the local courts but to increase the volume on the traffic between the cities and their capitols. The Senate hearings are called hearing for a reason.


MIM(Prisons) adds: A comrade at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility(RJDCF) recently wrote Governor Gavin Newsom regarding the infamous gang structure that is running operations there and denying prisoners the services the CDCR promises to offer them. The comrade introduces the letter:

“While the Armstrong v. Newsom, 475 F. Supp. 3d 1038 (N.D. Cal. 2020) injunction requiring body cameras be worn by officers may have subsided the wanton violent attacks on prisoners, nothing has been done to address or rectify the criminally orientated structure which dictates the overall daily operations of RJDCF. Such a failure renders RJDCF incapable of providing adequate rehabilitative programs and services to its prisoners.”

Offering more evidence for what we’ve been reporting about drugs in prisons almost every issue, the comrade goes on to write,

“Long before in-person visits returned to prisoners, RJDCF has been, and continues to be, peppered with the paper chemical substance known as spice, and methamphetamine, both of which are eas[ily] accessible and openly used outside of cell on surveillance cameras by various prisoners in common public areas. In fact, it is easier to access any one of these drugs here any day of the week than it is to establish or participate in a self-help program or access rehabilitative services.”

Comrades in North Kern State Prison have also been struggling to get their grievances heard:

“31 July 2022 – For the past month or two, us captives have been getting fucked out of our recreation (dayroom, yard) even though the orientation manual and Department Operational Manual acknowledges that we are entitled to 1 hour of recreation (outside/outdoor recreation) every day. These guards have been taking our yard and dayroom for the most blandest of reasons, a supposed”shortage" of building staff, or for a “one-on-one” or “two-on-one” fight amongst prisoners (fist fight), fights that these guards are well-aware of before the incident even happens. But still these guards shut down our whole program for any small infraction just to have an excuse to not run yard. I have done a “group” 602 grievance where 40 or so other prisoners have signed on to add weight to our issues, the institution has denied this grievance due to some trickery they employed. …These guards are lazy, they don’t want to let us out of our cells for nothing."

The RBGG Law Firm reports the following outcome of Armstrong v. Newsom, 475 F. Supp. 3d 1038 (N.D. Cal. 2020):

“As part of the remedial plans, CDCR must overhaul its staff misconduct investigation and discipline process to better hold staff accountable for violating the rights of incarcerated people with disabilities. Those reforms will begin to be implemented at the six prisons [including RJDCF, CSP-LAC, CSP-Corcoran, KVSP, CSATF, and CIW] in June 2022 and will be implemented at all CDCR prisons by mid-2023. CDCR must also produce to us and to the Court Expert staff misconduct investigation files so that we can monitor if CDCR is complying with the remedial plans and if the changes to the system will result in increased transparency and accountability.”

We commend the comrades who are pushing for accountability around these court-ordered reforms in the systematic abuse within the CDCR. But as they both point out, criminal gangs are running these prisons, making the attempts at reform superficial. So much more needs to be done. It takes a lot of bravery to stand up to these gangs, and this type of bravery is what is needed to mobilize the masses of prisoners to rally to the cause for independent power.

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[First World Lumpen] [Mental Health] [Abuse] [Grievance Process] [California State Prison, Sacramento] [California]
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Extreme neglect in California prison

I am writing to you because I’m currently housed in California State Prison - Sacramento B-yard (PSU). I’m writing to you on my behalf and on behalf of all the prisoners who are housed in B-7(PSU) to ask you if you can help us because we are living in a very dirty, unsanitary & cruel solitary confinement.

Where we have bird in the unit who poop all over the unit as the showers never get clean and due to that numerous prisoners caught fungus on their feet, like myself I caught bad fungus that now spread to my hand & fingers. Because the unit officers never clean the showers nor the unit & even when myself and a few other prisoners submitted 6O2 complaints about it they only send prisoners from the main line to clean a couple of times and after that it went back to the same old days being dirty and when we write complaints about staff misconduct, the sergeants and unit officers start to retaliate by not feeding us or threatened us that they would not feed us, get assaulted, sexual harassment, coming inside our cells & throwing or spitting on our food and hygiene on the floor & ripped or throw away our legal documents. Like they did to me & a few other prisoners.

And everyday at breakfast Officer G. Herrera is going around with other officers while passing breakfast not giving prisoners their breakfast food and threatening them that he’s going to go inside our cells and beat us up. It got to a point that at one time he told me and another prisoner that he was going to come inside our cell knock us out and sodomize us. We reported this and many other misconducts and the way we are living to the appeals coordinators by submitting complaint 602 appeals and also writing letters to the institution warden. Nothing was done on their part all we got was more retaliation from officers.

The appeals coordinators have been giving our complaints to sergeants from the same yard we are and those are sergeants who myself and other prisoners have filed complaints against already. And they are biased because they write us up by saying we lied on our complaint but that sergeants don’t even do the right and proper investigation all they do is issue us all write ups for supposedly lying.

Also when we go through mental breakdown & are dealing with suicidal thoughts & we notify the officers and nurses that we are experiencing suicidal thoughts to help us. The officers and nurses they just ignored us, even when we end up cutting ourselves and swallow shard metal objects in the intent of ending our lives they ignored us. All this happened to a lot of us prisoners and we are in the (PSU) because we are part of the mental health program at the E.O.P level and we are still being mistreated, discriminated against and ignored and this just triggers more our mental health and safety concerns.

So please help us as we are all begging for your help as we keep being ignored.

Sincerely, (PSU) Prisoners

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[Censorship] [Abuse] [Racism] [North Kern State Prison] [California]
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Racial Targeting and Retaliation in North Kern

I filed a 602 [grievance form] on the North Kern state prison CDCR employees for threats against me, for them soliciting my murder, institutional racism, etc. Right after I had the interview for this 602/grievance the C.O.’s opened my cell door and let three of their agent provocateur inmates into my cell where we started fighting. At the end of the fight the C.O.’s kicked me in the face and the C.O.’s punched me while I was on the ground proned out, cuffed.

Later on on the patio the C.O.’s sprayed me with MK-9 chemical agent, cuffed me up again drug me to a different holding cell. Once in that holding cell they grabbed me by my dreadlocks and my neck and forced my head under the water that was running. They did this up to the point of loss of oxygen while calling me racial epithets. The C.O’s did this in front of other C.O.’s who have a duty to be mandated reporters but they did not do or say anything about it. Subsequently I was thrown in the Ad-Seg Unit and given two trumped up RVR’s [rules violation charges]; one for fighting and one for assault on a peace officer. I have been assailed by a fringe group of C.O.’s/Nurses/CDCR employees. They’ve given me approximately 19 RVRs to max out my release date. I had already pre-warned the CDCR that these people were assailing me, and the reasons why.

Racial/political targeting is clearly prohibited under state and federal law. Committing crimes of conspiracy, soliciting murder and obstruction of justice are too, but the C.O. corruption runs deep. I believe this is the same collusive methods used on other individuals with like minds.

The freedom of speech and debate clause protects grievants from retaliations for writing grievances and what they say. The CDCR unwillingness to investigate and prosecute corruption in an effective fair and transparent manner is why they are obsessed with covering up things in the interest of keeping their finger off the deed, regarding serious allegations on their part as well as their racist C.O. gang Greenwall cultures engaging in fraudulent and unlawful activities against me for their benefactors.

These CDCR Employees harass me on a daily basis in some type of way. I have been the subject of faux cell moves, tampering with my legal mail, excessive use of force and I am an ADA who was shot by the Los Angeles Sheriff Department - Compton Division in 2018 and I use a walker to ambulate. Just on 10 August 2022 they MK-9 chemical agent gassed me out of the cell I am assigned to by the state forced a strip search on me and confiscated all of my legal documents and legal books. They’ve falsified documents, arbitrarily and maliciously classified me. They’ve threatened to have me shot by the tower guards. I am being targeted censored and harassed with impunity.

The capitalist of the CDCR(California Dept. of Corruption and Repression) have been utilizing their agent provocateur/snitches against me overtly and covertly. Housing me around their operatives who have a motive of creating false narratives tying me to things I have absolutely nothing to do with. All the while aiding a people who are attempting to compile falsehoods to co-opt my freedom and lifestyle. This is just a small portion of what’s going on dealing with this white power structure of imperialism being a pro-Black male.

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[Revolutionary History] [New Afrika] [California] [ULK Issue 79]
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Rest in Power Shaka At-Thinnin

I was just made aware of the passing of Shaka At-Thinnin via the Black August Organizing Committee, of which the comrade was a lead member of. We are losing a generation of New Afrikans right now. The ones who survived the most brutal oppression of the U.$. injustice system to live long lives.

Of course brutal oppression remains in the U.$. concentration camps to this day. The torture units that were developed in response to the resistance of brothers like Shaka are still in full operation across most of this country.

The comrades who started Black August responded to this repression with collective self-defense, an immense openness and love for the oppressed, and a sharp discipline. Discipline is one of the tenets of Black August. And it is one that i think we can all benefit from. It can be hard to impose strict discipline when it is not out of necessity or dire circumstances as it was for the founders. But studies have shown that the more you practice discipline the easier it becomes, in all aspects of your life. Little routines, little extra efforts, regaining little chunks of time to put it towards what you care about.

Struggling to spend a couple hours writing to prisoners, or handing out fliers, or studying political economy after working all day for exploiter wages is not as glorious as the struggles of some. Yet it is no less important. Shaka emself spent many evenings writing comrades inside after eir release from prison. I’ve had people come to me years later and tell me how a small action, a few words, or a magazine shared really impacted them. You will never know all the impacts you have if you put in work to reach others every day, every week, or even every month.

Shaka did not live to see the liberation of New Afrika, yet eir contribution was still great and continues to inspire us. When i was younger i had read George Jackson’s books, and knew the story of Jonathan Jackson, and studied the Attica rebellion. But it was only after meeting Shaka and Kumasi of the Black August Organizing Committee that I got a real understanding of what Black August was about, and what the New Afrikan resistance in California prisons at the time was like. Their work to preserve that history and share it with the world helps sustain the struggle into the future.

In my years in this movement i’ve had the privilege of meeting many elders of the generation of the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Each one of them inspired me, even if our interactions were brief. What they’d been through and how they responded was a testament to the potential of struggle, and the strategic confidence that we hold in the oppressed majority of the world who have nothing to lose but their chains.

The world is in constant flux. People come, people go. Empires die. The climate changes. And through it all we know that the oppressed nations are the rising force in the imperialist world today. And that force will eventually seize power from the current oppressors and change the course of history.

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[Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 78]
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CPF Demands Gov. Newsom Liberates Our Elders

Join MIM(Prisons), KAGE Universal, CPF and others at this forum in February

Recently a comrade from outside California wrote MIM(Prisons) to ask for an update on the leaders of the movement against solitary confinement because ey hadn’t heard anything about them recently. The below letter to CA Governor Newsom provides that update in the context of an ongoing agitational campaign.

While MIM(Prisons) supports the release of these elders, we focus our campaigning on the release of all people from long-term solitary confinement in line with the U.N. Mandela Rules. The decision to settle with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in the Ashker suit was a huge blow to this cause. While we don’t know what would have happened if the trial went to court, we knew and know exactly what a settlement would mean. Comrades in Texas and elsewhere should take a lesson from the leaders still sitting in solitary confinement in California a decade later. SHU/RHU/Control Units are torture! There is no acceptable outcome of our campaign against solitary confinement other than abolishing them completely.


California Prison Focus
KAGE Universal
4408 Market St., Ste. A
Oakland, CA 93608

Governor Newsom
1021 O Street, Suite 9000
Sacramento, CA 95814

March 18, 2022

RE: Liberate Our Elders

Dear Governor Newsom et al.,

California Prison Focus (CPF) and K.A.G.E. Universal are requesting your immediate action under the current humanitarian health crisis to investigate the ongoing retaliation being faced by the imprisoned human rights activists and members of the Prisoner Human Rights Movement (PHRM) who authored and honored the historic 2012 Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH), significantly reducing violence on California’s prison yards, and beyond. The Agreement to End Hostilities encourages conflict resolution and direct communication between races to counter violence between prisoner organizations. This opened the doors for the prison to begin providing a host of rehabilitative programs. Because of the sacrifices those individuals made, countless others have been saved from enduring decades-long solitary confinement torture as they did.

When these men, who had been tortured in solitary confinement for decades had attempted to disseminate and promote this historic accord, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) obstructed their efforts, claiming that the AEH qualifies as third-party communication. Staff members refused to post the statement throughout the prison, while during that same period, and since many years earlier, CPF was receiving reports that guards were placing “disruptive” individuals on the yards to instigate fights. [See Prison Focus archives, www.prisons.org]

“Mr. Y stated that some people try to sabotage it, namely the correctional officers, who continue to try to trick the general population with their anti-solidarity games…” Pelican Bay State Prison Report, PF Issue 48, Winter 2016

CDCR claimed that the signers of the AEH presented a major threat to the safety of the general prison population and in September 2013, there were approximately 3,881 prisoners in CDCR’s Security Housing Units (SHU) when the AEH had just been distributed inside CDCR and outside to civil society.

Approximately 2000 people were released from the SHU starting in early 2016 as a result of the Ashker v. Brown settlement agreement. When these older men came out of the SHUs, their principle thinking, and mentoring of younger prisoners in General Population yards created a dramatic decrease in violence, except when instigated directly or indirectly by prison policy and/or guards. To the contrary, as the men returned to the yards struggling to cope after decades of torture, they continued to promote and honor the AEH. Their commitment to non-violence and class unity among the SHU “kickouts” was even more remarkable as CDCR did nothing to assist SHU prisoners in transitioning to General Population even though it was extremely difficult for them after decades of being in solitary, living 24/7 in tiny cells with no natural light and under severe and harsh conditions.

CPF received reports and letters that the elders who were released from solitary confinement after so many decades were having a profound impact in reducing violence on the yards. At the same time CPF was receiving hundreds of letters a year, reporting incidents of violence that were directly or indirectly caused by both overt and covert actions taken by prison staff, sanctioned by the policy and prison administration of CDCR.

The signers by every organized group in CDCR, those who promulgated the AEH, and their fellow prisoner organizers of the California Prison Hunger Strikes, have been suffering from extreme retaliation ever since. Twelve of the original 16 signers continue to languish in prison today, as most of them are still being held in one form or another of solitary confinement. One organizer died before he was ever to see freedom. Others have received new and serious charges that are possibly retaliatory, so as not to disrupt CDCR’s false narratives that the organizers of the historical California Prison Hunger Strikes are the worst of the worst. And while studies claim that California faces a 66% recidivism rate, they continue to refuse to release these elders who pose a risk of less than 2%.

This constitutes a human rights crisis and we can no longer remain silent. We demand that the signers of the AEH, as well as for all organizers and participants of the California Prison Hunger Strikes, to be safe from retaliation, including further torture, isolation or, as laid out in the PHRM Blueprint, from being coerced, threatened and blackmailed to betray fellow prisoners with false accusations. We demand that the signers of the AEH be granted 2933 credits, based on the attached Certificate of Acknowledgment, to reduce or modify their sentences, and receive an immediate opportunity to demonstrate their readiness to return to their communities, starting with the individuals who have already had a positive impact on their community and society and would clearly have an even greater positive impact they will have on society as a whole if released.

In addition, the PEACE program that has already been established at Pelican Bay State Prison joins CPF and KAGE Universal to request that the AEH be posted throughout all CDCR institutions, using Inmate Welfare Funds.

Sincerely,

Kim Pollak, California Prison Focus, Executive Director
Minister King X, K.A.G.E. Universal, Founder, Executive Director
California Prison Focus, Director of Culture and Art

Cc: Kathleen Allison, CDCR Secretary
    Signers of the Agreement to End Hostilities
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[Control Units] [Revolutionary History] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 78]
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Rest in Power: Principal Thinker, Peace Maker, New Afrikan Revolutionary Paul Redd

Paul Redd memorial
Memorial for Paul Redd in Oakland, California

As comrades in Texas, North Carolina and elsewhere took action to protest long-term solitary confinement and mass incarceration this Juneteenth, we lost a leader in the struggle against solitary confinement and oppression in all forms in California. Paul Redd passed away on 19 June 2022. His funeral was July 9th in Oakland, Calfornia.

Redd was a New Afrikan Revolutionary, an author, and a principal thinker behind the development of the 2012 Agreement to End Hostilities(AEH) across California prisons. The AEH preceded an historical campaign against Security Housing Units(SHU) that included the largest prison hunger strikes in history.

Statement from Paul Redd’s family

“Paul Redd left us on Juneteenth. A hero to so many, he was loved by so many communities: from his childhood friends in Oakland, to his family who has always been with him, to decades-long friendships from the inside, to the many friends he made in his two years home after 44 years of wrongful incarceration, including 30 in solitary. He will be remembered for his infinite love, his courage, strength, generosity, hope, his poetry, and passion for justice. We love you Paul!”

Words from Redd’s comrades:

“Paul Redd’s passing is heartfelt for many as he was a staunch advocate of Black Love and Solidarity. His dedication and commitment to freedom of himself and other prisoners made him a target of the State and thereby a political prisoner. I spent prison time with Paul in Tracy and San Quentin, and know of his years of selfless service in the Black Guerrilla Family. As a soldier for the liberation of his people, he will be sorely missed in the field of battle opposing white supremacy and the tyranny of capitalism-imperialism. Paul, I salute you!!!” – Jalil Muntaqim

"He taught honor and respect to so-called thugs and ‘hood niggas’ and showed them how to respect and give concern for each other in such a way, thereby the world would come to respect and honor them. He also taught them to be young Lions and soldiers for all seasons. I was one of those young soldiers that he taught. And I was one of those young warriors that had grown with the example that he gave me. I stand now as an eternal witness to the teachings that this Brotha imparted to me, the political education. He taught me to refuse. He showed and taught me how to stand and not bend, buck or bow before the murderers who held us captive in Amerikkka’s concentration camps.

“…This Brotha, his spirit lives forever. I’m Brotha Balagoon Kambone, a Brotha and a friend.”

see more here: Friends and Comrades of the Prisoner Human Rights Movement, 27 June 2022, “Songs of tribute to Paul Redd, home with the ancestors”, The San Francisco Bay View, Vol 47, No 7.

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[Drugs] [Economics] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California Medical Facility] [California] [ULK Issue 78]
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CA Extorting Money from Prisoners

I was impressed with the research behind the articles about Suboxone in ULK 75 and 76. I first heard of this substance four years ago when individuals showed up on the yard (at Richard J. Donovan) that were using it. Someone I associated with informed me that it was like methadone and that it was highly addictive. I know that guys here at California Medical Facility are using Suboxone whether it’s prescribed to them or not. In fact, illicit drugs of all types are available here, even during the quarantine lockdown when there were no contact visits allowed!

Also, this facility is holding a food sale to “raise money for the Special Olympics.” The offering of a chicken sandwich, potato chips and a cookie for $22.00 doesn’t seem like a good deal to me. Especially considering that only a small percentage would go to the Special Olympics and that 10% goes to the “Inmate Welfare Fund”. Is this a scam or what!?

An article in San Quentin News on a similar fund raiser reads:

“Prisoners spent $63,000 with 10% of the profits going to a charity.”

I see these sales as another scheme to extract money from prisoners and their families and friends and that the real benefactors for these “charities” are the CDCR.

There is another article in the same newspaper on the GTL tablets that are being pushed on us. I’ve read some of the specifications for these tablets and they are of course cheap pieces of crap. They are entirely dedicated to make GTL money pure and simple. How do companies like GTL get away with it? Here is some key points from the article:

"GTL is the phone service provider for all CDCR prisons…. According to Prison Legal News (PLN), GTL has had to pay out millions of dollars to settle lawsuits over the years for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA).

"In October 2020 a New Jersey judge approved a $25 million settlement agreement between GTL and New Jersey prisoners who paid up to 100 times the actual phone rate between 2006 and 2016, according to PLN.

“The company has also been sued for charging unlawfully inflated prices for collect calls made by incarcerated people throughout the U.S.”


MIM(Prisons) adds: We whole-heartedly agree with this comrade’s assessment of these money-making schemes. We call this extortion, prisoners are forced to pay higher prices for things because there is no other option for them.

The Chik-Fil-A sandwich with waffle chips and a cookie that CDCR was charging $22 for is about $8 on the street. They’re charging prisoners almost 3 times the normal price! If $2.20 is going to charity, where’s the other $12 going?

For more on the topic of tablets, see “A Strategic Objective to Disrupt and Surveil the Communication Between Prisoners and Our Loved Ones” in ULK 76. The article on GTL tablets claims they offer “secure email”, which is a joke because we know GTL and CDCR staff can read anything you send on those things. In other cases, companies have charged prisoners for things like ebooks that are free in the public domain. GTL loves it because they charge prisoners extortion-level subscription fees for very restricted content, and CDCR loves it because it increases the ease of surveillance. The article also promotes the tablets as pacifiers, like suboxone, to keep the prison population docile.

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[Drugs] [California] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Suboxone Spreads to More Prison Systems, Little Evidence of Counseling

Following up on some recent warnings and reports from comrades on Subxone(buprenorphine), we conducted an updated survey on drugs in U.$. prisons this past winter.(1) We received survey responses from NC, PA, VA, WV, MI, CA and TX.(2) While we heard from Michigan in ULK 75 all of the other states were represented in our original survey, which was distributed more widely and received more responses.

So has anything changed in the last 5 years? In 2017, Suboxone use was reported to be common in many states in the northeast and midwest United $tates. Specifically comrades in NY, KS, WV, TN, CT, WI, and especially PA reported Suboxone use being popular. We do not have info on whether the Suboxone was obtained from the prison or not in that data set. In 2022, we can add California, Virginia, North Carolina and Michigan to the list of states where Suboxone is abused in prisons. Of those four, only Michigan was not represented in our 2017 survey, meaning Suboxone seems to have become popular in the other 3 in the last five years. Texas is the only state we got responses from this year that reported Suboxone still not being available at all.[UPDATE October 2022: We later received report that Georgia did not have Suboxone either.]

Our comrade in Michigan reported this new drug appeared on the scene in 2012, and had become the most common drug abused in the MDOC, with perhaps 5 in 10 prisoners using it. (until recently when K2 took over)

We have updated info from Pennsylvania affirming that it is prescribed there and that people can stay on it for as long as they are held in prison. About 1 in 7 people are using Suboxone at SCI-Dallas.

In North Carolina, Suboxone is very popular, though less popular than K2, which has been increasing in use. Suboxone may be more popular with white prisoners there.

Our Virginia respondent is in a “big mental health/drug rehab” unit, where ey says “we can’t order self-help programs nor books.” Imagine that! Yet you can get a Suboxone subscription with no indication that there are any classes to go along with it. Some are continuing their Suboxone subs from the streets.

Michigan and West Virginia do not prescribe Suboxone according to our survey respondents. Yet it still gets into the prisons there and is quite popular.

California the big mover

The biggest shift we learned from our second round of surveys was the new introduction of Suboxone, which Ehecatl already reported in ULK 76 started in 2020. A recent study reported a sharp increase in buprenorphine consumption in prisons from 2020-2021. The number of incarcerated people consuming it rose an estimated 250,000 from January 2015 to May 2021. With only 115,000 prisoners total, CDCR may have been a good chunk of that growth, but clearly was only part of it.

That said, one comrade in California reported that they now “give anyone and everyone Suboxone. I know a bunch of people who never have used drugs and went to see the doctor and got put on Suboxone.” The price of Suboxone on the black market has decrease from $100 to only $2-4 as a result. This comrade continued,

“I’ve been in solitary confinement for over 4 years so I signed up to get put on Suboxone and I got put on it a week after seeing the doctor. I’ve been a drug addict my whole life, but was still surprised how easy it is and was to get put on Subxone.”

We’ve always held that solitary confinement is used as a tool of social control in the U.$. injustice system. We also see Suboxone being used in the same way. Here they are being used in conjunction as a way to help people adjust to the torture of solitary confinement. When used outside solitary, most prisoners reported its use leading to people retreating from socializing and not engaging in any kind of group organizing.

Another CA comrade had put in a request in December 2019 after the CDCR publicized a new drug to help with addiction. By March or April 2020 ey was approved for Suboxone. Doses there range from 8mg to 20mg. As for counseling, this comrade did report that, “while I was receiving it we were seeing a C.O. Healy and ex-drug user facilitator bringing us 5 days of work on Monday and coming back on Monday to pick up the homework.” It is not clear why ey stopped receiving Suboxone.

“Buprenorphine use in jails and prisons increased by 224-fold, from a daily mean of 44 individuals in June 2016 to 9841 individuals in May 2021 (Figure). Most of this increase occurred from 2020 to 2021. Nationwide, across all retail and nonretail settings, buprenorphine use increased by 53.9% from a daily mean of 466,781 individuals in January 2015 to 718,591 individuals in May 2021. By May 2021, correctional settings accounted for approximately 1.5% of all buprenorphine use nationwide. An estimated 3.6% of the 270,000 incarcerated individuals with [Opioid Use Disorder] in the US received buprenorphine.”(3)

These numbers are likely underestimated as they are based on retail sales numbers from one source. But the sharp increase in prescribed Suboxone starting in late 2019 is certainly something of note.

K2 Still King in TX

We received the most responses to our second survey from Texas, and things seem to have not changed much there. Everyone agreed that Suboxone was not available in Texas. K2 appeared there around 2013 or 2014 according to our respondents, and has been on the increase ever since. Many people report tiers filled with the smoke being a common occurrence in the TDCJ. K2 use rates reported in TX this time around estimated 10%, 20%, 30% and in the RHU up to 75% of people.

Our correspondent from Allred’s RHU reports that back in 2013-2016 “drugs were virtually non-existent… 1/2 that time there were no cameras, yet there still was no drugs, no cell phones, no contraband at all really. Since i’ve been back here there has been at least a 70% increase in contraband” (2017 to present). This comrade points to a huge cultural shift among staff leading to the change.

Ey goes on to explain the social effects of this influx of drugs and how it serves as a tool of social control:

“We had a good thing going here after working to bring all New Afrikan lumpen groups and people together, but clashes over drug debts have undermined the unity… We were able to organize 1/3 of the RHU population against their confinement. With the drugs one year later, barely 50 people!”

As far as effective efforts to combat drugs, we once again got a resounding “no” answer to that question form all states. One TX comrade reported, “the Christians and Muslims are the only social groups openly condemning drug use, simultaneously, some of their”coordinators" are getting officially charged with possessing it!"

Another comrade who struggled with prescription psych meds as well as illicit drugs explained, “One of the worst parts of my own ‘addiction’ was the shame and guilt that came from using these ‘illegal drugs.’” This is just one reason why the approach to drug addiction in this country is ineffective. We encourage comrades to try our new Revolutionary 12 Step Program, which will walk you through addressing these feelings of shame.

A couple of respondents reiterated a preference for “natural” drugs rather than ones that are synthesized by multi-national corporations. But we’d point out the reason we can’t trust modern technology is because of capitalism. It is not the fact that humyns made it that makes it unsafe, but rather the profit motives that cause humyns to hide and overlook any safety issues that come up. There are lots of things that grow naturally that can kill you. In a system that operates in the interests of the people, we wouldn’t be making things to add to that list like the capitalists do.

Notes:
1. [see the results of our first survey on drugs in prison in Under Lock & Key 59]
2. The response size for this survey was much smaller and only included the following number of responses by state: NC-1, PA-1, VA-1, WV-1, MI-1, CA-2, TX-5
3. Ashish P. Thakrar, MD1; G. Caleb Alexander, MD, MS; Brendan Saloner, PhD; Trends in Buprenorphine Use in US Jails and Prisons From 2016 to 2021. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(12):e2138807. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.38807.

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