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.

[Theory] [California]
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To kill the individual

To kill the individual is the first objective of the potential revolutionary. To become a revolutionary one must first become human. When we become revolutionized we step into the conscious of our/all humanity. Once we become conscious of our/all humanity we see that it is a struggle to liberate all oppressed people (free & caged) of the atrocities of the capitalist imperialist system. The revolutionary makes the mental adjustments that must take place to evolve from LO member to revolutionary socialist/communist and takes up the fight to liberate all of humanity.

In laymens terms a revolutionary is a "force" for change. So to become a revolutionary simply means "we must change". Change the way we think and change the way we treat each other. As a revolutionary political force we must recognize and understand that individualism means death. The "I just do me" mentality must be defeated for a revolutionary to come into full consciousness. I read somewhere once that "a revolutionary like a snake sheds his old skin and regrows the new skin of the people." We have to start living in accordance with the laws of humanity with a socialist politic. As we learn through study, through observation, through actual experience and as we live dialectic materialism we strengthen our commitment to the socialist/communist cause/struggle.

Revolutionaries realize the reality of the U.S. is one of historic and continued exploitation, injustice and racism. It is our obligation to end forever this fascism, because that is what we're currently liven under here! Individualism must disappear, want for the apolitical brotha what you want for your/our comrade. The ability to determine the world we inhabit is just a world where grown ass racist pigs in Seattle can punch out a young black teenage girl and get away with it, a world where racist trigger happy pigs in Detroit can murder a little black girl and get away with it, a world where a capitalist system allows oil to just continue to spew into the ocean destroying the ecological system. All this shit can be stopped if we kill the individual and step into consciousness.

The people can't wait they need the enforcers of change to lead them to freedom and justice, to a world where we all work and live according to our principles of socialist humanity. Revolutionaries adhere to a cause/struggle greater than themselves, humanity needs those who are ready and willing to fight for the liberation of the oppressed, those who are ready and willing to, if necessary, sacrifice the individual for the many. Franz Fanon said "where individuals are concerned, a positive negation of common sense is evident. While the settler or the policeman has the right the livelong day to strike the native, to insult him and to make him crawl to him, you will see the native reaching for his knife at the slightest hostile or aggressive glance cast on him by another native; for the last resort of the native is to defend his personality vis-a-vis his brother." Obviously the "native" is us "the convict" and the "settler" is "the oppressor pigs". When we become revolutionized we no longer accept the oppressors not respecting our humanity.

There is no such thing as an unconscious revolutionary. A revolutionary sees the plight of the masses and seeks through armed struggle and resistance to relieve the masses of their injustice. The question is how does the revolutionary socialist/communist navigate the individualistic attitudes of the typical convict? How does a conscious revolutionary convict reach the potential revolutionary in this cesspool of apolitical, self-hating individualistic brothers? As a revolutionary socialist who is quite limited in his movement due to 6 years in the hellish existence of the California SHU at Corcoran how do we get them to realize, recognize and understand as individuals we are lost and conquered but as a force of united revolutionaries under one politic, one ideology, one banner and one color?! Long live the revolutionary. Power to the people who don't fear freedom. As long as we continue to think in terms of "me & I" we will never unite and amass the power to defeat capitalist imperialism and fascism.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade makes a strong point about the need to fight individualism as a part of the revolutionary struggle. This is a particularly big challenge in the belly of the beast, where it is all about doin' me and mines, even among those who face extreme repression under imperialism. On that note, we agree with the MIM line on fascism: "even though the imperialists have not implemented fascist measures against the exploiter majority in First World countries, the imperialists are the principal prop of fascism in the oppressed nations." Within U$ prisons there is an argument to be made that fascist conditions exist, just as they do in many parts of the Third World, funded by the United $tates. But internally, Amerikan imperialism remains a bourgeois democracy.

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[Organizing] [Security] [California]
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Special Needs Yard debate continues

Response to SNY critic article published in the July/August 2010 ULK, #15, p.5

As is typical, I have ruffled some feathers on the SNY yard when I pointed out my personal sentiments regarding the SNY/general population issue. I criticized both SNY/GP as a matter of fact and the SNY cat asked what have I personally done. He would have to look up this history of John Q. Convict, an aka I have written under in various publications and prison news letters. I have blisters on my fingers from doing others' legal work and appeals as well as writing about what I experience and see. I am again on my way back to the SHU till I am paroled since I am not nor have I ever been one to be a passive submissive sheep nor am I in competition with anyone, I just keep it real.

It's ironic but I have had five CDCR numbers and I have experienced a lot. Maybe I am crazy to rather go to the SHU than exist on an SNY yard but I started doing time in the 70s and prisoners were a lot different then. The misconception I see in the term "active" as that is a prisoncrat designation of gang members (prison/street). Read the regulations of the CDCR and you know. I have never been one to tell on myself yet I see prisoners do it all the time enhancing CDCR/California Department of Justice investigatorial files that exist, yet we will never access, as one can other confidential files via court order.

Do not get me mixed up, I am not "active," I am "General Population" and I have seen how the California prisoner culture has succumbed to the tyranny of the prisoncrats with a whisper. Yes some get frightened and are keen to become SNY and bow to a perceived necessity in what I believe to be a misguided belief that such necessity forces conformity and that conformity allows for stability in which some can enjoy the "privileges" of visiting, canteen, telephones, packages. They are not rights that are guaranteed by the constitution. I elect to not conform in this prison environment.

I am a dissident who stands out and I am easily branded and locked back down but they always got to let me back out. I do not get visits or have money sent to me by choice, it's so I do not subject my family to the harassment that visiting presents, and the CDCR does not collect 55% of every dollar my family sends to me. I tried to point out that we prisoners are all victims of picklesuit tyranny, and yes I feel like those who volunteer to go to SNY have abandoned the struggle to a certain extent. I see the victims of the picklesuits assume the face of the tyrants, be they GP/SNY self-righteous and intransigent, while assisting the picklesuits instigate conflicts.

There is not a lockdown situation in the state of California that I have not experienced, and I do not confuse unity with conformity. I have always believed that prisoners should unite around principals. I have recently been labeled a "terrorist" I am an activist and it is frustrating as hell to try and pull the coats of those in these prisons who have submitted knowingly and unknowingly.

I see that there is the need for the mending of broken spirits on both sides of the California prison divide which is no easy task since it will require the prison population to reshape itself and refuse the gratuitous gifts and reject the privileges used to co-op prisoners as well as the elimination of it being all about self. Prisons use prisoners working in the kitchen or selling out for a fix/hit of dope, utilizing that instinctual will to survive. I do not believe in leaders as they become the focus of compulsive collaboration with the opposition once they are identified, and they are not infallible and such leads to eventual disaster. Yet I have known that principled individuals avoid the natural vices such as greed, betrayal, and the misguided notion that one has to compete without exception as if it's a healthy attribute. Such is and always has been, in my mind, a sad path to self-esteem, an illusion built upon putting ones foot on the neck of another which is what the pickesuits do, and it's not lasting since when they fail to physically and emotionally break my will they become fearful and envious because I have endured what they themselves know they could not. Yes I have on several occasions learned to make due with nothing, making myself mentally and emotionally strong and I survive.

Kudos to any successful SNY litigator. I read Prison Legal News (PLN) each month for the past six years, noting all the successes published there, rarely seeing an instance in which a California prisoner received millions. Even though the state has deep pockets, that 12.2 million eludes my perusal. You should send the decision to PLN so they can publish it as your work.

I also want to point out a simple truth even though our comrades at MIM(Prisons) disagree. In my years of doing time, always General Population, I have learned to read people and I am rarely in error. I can and do note agent provocateurs and quislings as well as those who think they are well hidden and can not be spotted. It's the nature of such individuals to expose themselves. I have never gone to the hole for harming another prisoner over the years I have served. It has always been an issue with the real enemy who has hoodwinked and bamboozled, coerced, pressured or otherwise manipulated the greedy and the weak; of which I am neither.

My view is that SNY prisoners who volunteered to go that route are their own worst enemy and the stigma attached is something that they will have to deal with, as those who dropped out, originally dropped in, when it was fashionable for you, and you were on the hooligan end claiming to be a gang member, telling the pig that you are a gang member, proud to be a gang member till the pack turns on you and then you don't want to be a member any more or you find yourself in a position in which you are facing time and you choose to purchase leniency by telling on your sworn homeboys. But wait, not all SNYs have been snitches, but many have "debriefed" so I must say that the percentages speak for themselves in terms of those who allowed themselves to be used and manipulated to self-detriment. There are still some in GP hiding in the wings.

I was brought up believing that it takes a lot of balls to stand up to adversity and not compromise one's principals. I am constantly educating myself in a variety of subjects. Yet I do not tell others who, what or how they should believe, we all make choices and some ultimately lead to some becoming SNY. I want to be quite clear that I am not any better or worse than any other human being on this earth. We all have faults yet the struggle has never died, it has been altered and manipulated towards personal gain. I am presenting my personal perspective from my years of experience. Though it is true I've never lived on an SNY/PC yard, they do put SNYs on the tier with GP in the ASU/SHU, to my dismay. I am an equal opportunity criticizer since while some focused on SNY, I spoke of both sides of the fence.

I noted years ago that the most illuminating and dangerous place in the prison was the law library as knowledge was power. Yet the time of spending 8 hours a day in the law library has been effectively reduced to one hour and thirty minutes a week if you are lucky and are PLU. I am not here to brag on myself but there are people on the streets thanks to me and new life was breathed into others whose cases were on the ropes.

So since I was asked what I have done, well helping others and standing up to abusive prison staff and officials has resulted in my doing 100% of my term due to my concern for the similarly situated prisoner. Ethnicity never mattered, all came to me. Yet when I think about it I wonder if my sacrifices have been all for naught, as those who instilled the fortitude, stubborn tenacity, and courage to fight back in the 60s and 70s are flip-flopping in their graves about the conditions and backwards steps in California prisons. The ladies put up better fights and they as a result still get stuff that we don't. Some of the prison population put privileges before rights so you enjoy your privileges while they keep chipping away your rights.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter is part of an ongoing discussion, started in ULK13, of the controversial issue of the potential for prisoners in Special Needs Yards (SNY) to participate in the anti-imperialist struggle. It is MIM(Prisons)' position that prisoners in all situations can be induced to sell out and serve the needs of the system. And while we recognize the harm done by prisoners debriefing, going to SNY can sometimes involve less cooperation with the pigs than staying in an LO. We can't condemn people for mistakes they made as youth trying to find a place. We need to unite with all who demonstrate, in practice, that they are on the side of the anti-imperialist struggle.

This comrade says he can read people, and is rarely in error. And to an extent we agree. We "read" people by applying work and line standards to our potential comrades. By judging how one completes their work and upholds their line we can judge them as a comrade. The error comes in when you think you know when someone is a cop or snitch or not. You trust people you shouldn't and attack your friends. Even if these errors are rare, they tend to be the most serious. This is why general policies are superior ways to "read" people than looking at individual cases.

This comrade comments that s/he does not "believe in leaders." We agree that security and hero worship are weaknesses of having leaders, and we should work to minimize both of them. However, we also must be materialists and recognize that leaders, including the writer, exist and that leadership is important. A leaderless movement ends up without clear direction and can waste the resources and energy of the masses. Leaderless movements (also known as anarchist) generally end up with de facto leaders - people who are not formally put in positions of leadership but who just take up the lead because of experience or line or a desire for power. These de facto leaders are far more dangerous than elected leaders because there is no mechanism to remove them from power. And this also limits the people's input into the direction of a movement. For these reasons we affirm the communist principle of clear and formal leadership of the revolutionary movement and its organizations, while we work towards a society where no groups of people have power over others.

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[Control Units] [Campaigns] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 16]
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Wrongful Validation in California Leads to Support for Grievance Campaign

I am a prisoner at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) and one of 60 prisoners who were wrongfully validated in August 2009. Z-unit is notorious for its disregard for prisoner's rights. Likewise HDSP and CDCR are disproportionately validating prisoners as gang members and associates, regardless of their actual affiliation.

In the past 3 years HDSP has validated over 110 "Hispanics" off of C-yard. Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI) is very prejudice and racist here in HDSP. All validations here are racially motivated. All IGI workers here are white and the new Lieutenant is Mexican but wants to be white. The validation system is a sham. The most bothersome thing is in R&R the COs ask you who you roll with. If you say no one they'll ask you where you live and when you tell them they declare that you are a northerner or southerner just because of your region of habitation.

CDCR validation procedures are vague and overly broad. HDSP is not following court orders nor administrative regulations. Information from informants and debriefers is being taken and used as 100% fact. Some of us are issued validation points for a drawing. However we are not given any notice of what is considered gang related. So how are we supposed to know what is against the rules? Instead this is being utilized to validate us and confine us to the Security Housing Unit (SHU) for life. CDCR is using "kites" [written notes] to validate us. If a prisoner is caught with your general information, CDCR uses that as a validation point, saying you committed "gang activity." How do you get a validation point for someone having your name!? Anybody has access to your information as COs post this info on our doors. This whole process is ambiguous.

CDCR has a motivation for all these unjust validations. On January 25th, 2010, California legislators passed a new law (Senate Bill xxx18) in regards to new credit earning for prisoners. General Population prisoners are now receiving half time credits. While SHU and ASU have to do 100% of the time they were sentenced. CDCR is wrongfully validating prisoners as a tactic to ensure their job security. Many general population prisoners will be getting kicked out because of the overcrowding issues but ASU and SHU prisoners will be stuck with the COs needing to guard them. It costs $50,000 to house a SHU prisoner so of course the "Green Wall" wants to line their pockets with "Green Money."

There are many inhumane conditions of confinement here in Z Unit. Prisoners are kept in their cells 22 hours a day with no windows, TVs or radios. Prisoners are not given adequate winter clothing. It rains, snows, and an average temperature stays below 30 degrees and the only things we get is a jacket. Prisoners are forced to strip buck naked in the snow and freezing temperatures. Lastly, staff complaints and grievances are often trashed or just not answered. In ULK 15 (July August 2010) your feedback to a prisoner regarding grievances not being handled property was to get involved in a petition campaign for grievances. I want to get involved along with other prisoners here! I look forward to your response.

MIM(Prisons) adds: CDCR has a long history of ignoring grievances and it is in this state that the grievance campaign started. It has now expanded to many other states. Contact us for more information and to get a copy of the petition for your state (or to get a generic petition that you can customize for your state).

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[Organizing] [Control Units] [High Desert State Prison] [California]
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Control Units No Better than Zoo for Animals

I am writing in hopes of bringing awareness to your followers regarding some of the injustices being forced upon prisoners housed within the administrative segregation units(ASU) in Z-unit. The circumstances below have unfortunately become the norm. Z-unit is officially referred to as the zoo due to the fact that it is a habitat fit for animals. We don't expect five star treatment because we are in prison. We know this and we are grateful for all that comes our way.

A major issue around here is mail. It is often late and quite frequently lost. Pictures, books, and magazines tend to often come up missing, but we are usually not provided with notices of disapproval. The thing is, when the mailroom confiscates something as contraband, they send you a notice of disapproval that allows you the opportunity to send home or donate whatever it is. So if the mailroom does not enclose this form in your envelope, then it is not them who steals the stuff, right? This issue is currently being reviewed at the director of CDCR's level of the 602 inmate appeals process in Sacramento, California.

High Desert State Prison(HDSP) is located in the mountains of Northern California. The winters are long and unforgiving. Temps often drop to 20F with gnarly winds, snow and ice. Since we are not provided with adequate winter clothing to defend against the literally numbing cold, we are forced to choose between freezing for three hours on the days they do choose to run yard or stay in our cells month after month. This too is being looked into by means of the grievance process.

HDSP is an unrelenting environment. Z-Unit is entirely worse. The way it was designed deprives one of all stimulation. The architects sure did a good job on designing an oppressive atmosphere. There is no window to the outside, simply a mere slit in the roof that leads to another skylight twenty feed higher. Looking out of the cell door all one can see is an all white wall five feet in front of you, the only contact you have is that of your cell mate, but that quickly becomes stale and strained.

TVs and radios have been authorized by the state since 2005, allowing purchases by inmates for entertainment purposes, but this has yet to be put into effect by the administration here in High Desert. Inmates who are fortunate enough to purchase books, magazines, newspapers etc., often have to wait upwards of a month after they are here to actually receive them. And when they're finally passed out, all reading material gets circulated throughout the entire tier. To say the least, we put everything to good use when we have it.

In spite of that, at one point, we were provided one book a week (better than nothing, I'm not going to front) by means of a tiny book cart. But that has ceased as of June 3 and to top it off, we are provided a slap in the face with two measly cross-words each week.

Without stimulation, internal anguish tends to set in. It has been clinically proven and well documented that in as little as two weeks in this type of environment, the average individual shows signs of stress, depression, anxiety, frustration, PTSD, anti-social symptoms and SHU syndrome. These conditions and the mental impact/ side effects they entail are the major cause of violence, both self-inflicted and in-cell combat. The mental imbalance is such that in September or October 2009 an individual committed suicide in his cell. In December 2009 another prisoner did the same, just to give a couple examples.

The impact this setting imposes has been acknowledged by the administration, for they have hired "psych-techs" who walk down the tier twice each day every day. How much does each psych-techs cost the state each year?

Prisoners have exhausted the appeals process and will continue on the right path to keep doing so, however, we are met with resistance at every level. More often than not, when you have proper grounds for a grievance, your appeal will somehow get lost. And when you write internal affairs asking them to submit it for you so that it won't be "lost," the warden will inevitably get at you letting you know that if you go that route then your grievance will not be processed. But it never gets processed anyway. Real fucking jerks, I know, not only this, but due to the insufficient nature and complete disregard on appeal coordinator's behalf, there is currently a lawsuit pending against the state. What can I say? We're trying.

Frustration got to the point that on June 14 and 18 about 35-40 cells boarded up to get cell extracted so they could voice their grievance. Unfortunately, we must expose ourselves to such gruesome protests, yet we are still not acknowledged. Moreover, on June 14-15 and again on Aug 2-9, prisoners housed in Z-unit went on hunger strikes. It seems like the light at thee end of the tunnel cannot be seen.

Many of the prisoners housed in Z Unit (about 80%) are awaiting transfers to other segregation units; however, some of these individuals have been enduring such dire circumstances upwards of two years.

To date, we have a select few of us on a writing campaign. Our object is ultimately to get our voice heard. So far, we've had a little success. Primarily, the Prisoner Activist Resource Center(PARC) is an organization currently working close with the prisoners housed in Z-Unit. Earlier this year, they led an investigation of this prison, but now they've planned one specifically for Z-Unit. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

This investigation has been published by SJRA Advocate. Also the AFSC has an open investigation on this prison's now obsolete Behavioral Management Unit (BMU), the same setting just a fancier title. The BMU investigation has been published in two newspapers: the Sacramento Bee and the Fresno Bee. We are hoping to get Z-unit added to that investigation.

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[Organizing] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California] [ULK Issue 16]
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Mass Hunger Strike in California

On July 27, 2010 a mass hunger strike took place at California State Prison - Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC) in which close to, if not well over 1000 prisoners participated. This mass hunger strike was successfully organized directly under the noses of pigs and their collaborators. The purpose of this strike was to protest and call attention to another of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation's (CDCR) oppressive and unconstitutionally sponsored pilot-programs in which prisoners are being forced to endure an average of 23 hours a day, seven days a week, confined in closed quarters.(1)

Whispers and murmurs were heard and acknowledged within certain circles concerning the impending hunger strike the week before-hand, however nothing was certain, or set in stone with regard to the actual date and time of the scheduled event outside of the strike organizers. Willing participants were advised not to exit their cells for either breakfast or dinner services during the period of no less than 24 hours in advance of the strike. This tactic of putting people up on game solely on a need-to-know basis was done specifically with the purpose of minimizing leaks and to prevent information from reaching prison administrators' ears. The strike was originally intended to last for a minimum of 72 hours. This was because it takes a minimum of 72 hours before CDCR officials in Sacramento must be notified by prison officials of the ongoing hunger strike. Only then are prison doctors required by Title 15 regulations to begin the tedious and time consuming work of weighing strike participants and giving medical exams.

Building 3 on facility C was the first housing unit to initiate the protest as they are the first building to walk to chow. Other buildings were instructed to immediately follow suit whether they then walked to chow or got cell-fed. The quiet was eerie as well as defiantly deafening as cell after cell refused to step out for feeding. Only then did it become immediately apparent to the pigs that something was up. The yard was immediately put on lockdown as pigs scrambled to find out exactly what was happening. All so-called MAC reps(2) were ordered to report to the facility program office in order to speak to the Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain.

Conditions Leading to Strike

As I stated during the beginning of this article, this hunger strike was the result of C-facilities' administrators, the prison warden, and quite possibly Sacramento officials' direct refusal to allot prisoners here the required minimum of hours per Title 15 regulations of physical exercise outside of our cells. The California Code of Regulations explicitly states that inmates who are to be considered security threats to their institution are to be allotted no less than one hour a day, five days a week (Monday thru Friday) of physical exercise outside of their cells. This info can be found in CDCR Title 15, 3322, Length of Confinement (a), 3331 conditions of detention (h) avid 3343 Conditions of Segregated Housing (h). The above mentioned regulations are designated for prisoners being forced to participate in said programs. However, C-facility prisoners at CSP-LAC are not considered safety and security threats, but instead are designated general population per the Title 15. Therefore the question to be begged here is, why are general population prisoners being subjected to such long and concurrent periods of time inside of our cells without meaningful physical exercise? General population prisoners must be given a minimum of ten hours of P.E. outside of our cells Mon - Fri according to old Title 15 regulations, however the CDCR has conveniently wiped this regulation from the Title 15 in order to get away with violating constitutionally upheld decisions.

This is a question which has continually been asked at this gulag since this yard officially opened back in September of 2009. Pigs and officials alike have stated that the yard program will improve once the yard officially opens, or that they're currently "working on it". However, the real reason that there is no yard here is quite simply that they just don't want to run it. Period.

Back in January 25, 2009, then-Captain Fortson released an ill-devised memo in an attempt to quell the prison masses' demands for yard. In this memo Fortson stated that "no more than 100 IM's on each side (as per safety ratio) and that all buildings will have yard 2x per week."

First of all, there is no way in hell that they can adequately provide physical exercise for all 1000+ prisoners when the yard is kept to a maximum capacity of 100 prisoners at a time, or 200 prisoners even, as of late. Also, with all the bullshit that goes on around here as well as the purposely delayed and cancellations of program, it is simply impossible for prisoners to receive anywhere near the ten hour minimum or five hour minimum for that matter of required physical exercise outside of our cells. This isn't rocket science people, and it isn't incompetence either. It is an arbitrary application of the safety & security doctrine. Why? Because in his ill-devised memo which will come back to bite CSP-LAC officials in the ass, the good Captain does not elaborate on this "safety ratio." And why does he not? Because there is no safety ratio, only a failed attempt to dupe the prisoners into buying the illegitimacy of their own oppression.

Finally, prisoners here got tired of patiently waiting to be given the right to exit their cells for meaningful physical exercise, so we decided to do something about it.

How it Went Down

Now, according to the so-called MAC reps who met with the facility heads immediately following the hunger strike, the administration stated that we'd certainly "gotten their attention." They were then given the captain's "word" that he would look into the issues and that things would change. However, if the MAC reps wanted the honor of an audience with the warden then they'd have to instruct all prisoners participating in the strike to give up the struggle. This was complete and total bullshit as it was obvious to anyone with half a brain that the pigs only wanted us to break it down and stop striking. This point was made very clear by a tiny minority within the organizers and insiders. They advised the MAC reps not to break it down, but instead to go around and tell everybody to keep striking. Unfortunately, perhaps out of real stupidity or just plain cowardice, the Executive Body MAC reps capitulated and went around telling people to end the hunger strike after a measly six and a half hours. Any continued act of resistance to the administration in the form of the hunger strike, or any other means by isolated individuals would've been futile as the vast majority of the population had already ceased. The damage was done.

Among the organizers and insiders there was a small minority who were against this mass action at this time, not only because they didn't believe that the objective conditions were entirely conducive for such measures as today's prisoner is programed to be docile and take a lot of crap, but also because they foresaw precisely the type of capitulation that ended up taking place. Furthermore, this small minority gathered that if indeed some organizers were hell-bent on kicking off this hunger strike then they might as well go one step further and instead call for a mass sit down and follow it with a hunger strike, as this would cause more havoc and confusion to the pigs, plus, they'd have to immediately justify their secondary response to Sacramento, as opposed to the 72 hour hunger strike requirement. It is the small minority's belief that this would have been the correct approach. Unfortunately, the majority of the organizers won out with their idea. Disappointed but still determined to at the very least help organize the strike, solely for solidarity purposes, the small minority encouraged others to join in. Of course there is much more to this story, but due to security purposes it will remain confidential.

In the end as a result of the strike we are now on lockdown. Also, the Executive Body MAC reps were almost all sent to the hole for suspicion of being the organizers and leaders of the strike. This is of course ridiculous as we all know that MAC really stands for Man-Against-Convict. And so now we await to see what happens in light of these events. Will the administration keep their word? Highly unlikely. While the Executive Body rots in the hole, the real leadership is still on the loose in the population, like fish blending into the sea. Prison administrators are confused if they believe they can organize and keep us in check in a top down structure with their MAC reps. Instead we organize from the bottom up, from the masses to the masses.

If nothing else readers of this article should take away one thing, there are no rights, only power struggles.

Notes:
(1) The one hour per day outside the cell is typically spent as follows: 15-20 minutes allotted to and from the dining hall for AM feeding, 15-20 minutes to and from the dining hall for PM feeding with the occasional five or ten minute delay, alarms, etc. In fact, when not on lockdown or "modified program" we in the general population receive an average of 2-3 hours of meaningful P.E. with recreational and exercise equipment, once a week.
(2)MAC Rep stands for "Mens Advisory Council." These MAC reps are voted into their positions by the population and are expected to voice prisoners concerns to administration. However, their real purpose as far as the administration is concerned is to keep the population under firm control and subservient.

This article referenced in:
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[Legal] [California] [ULK Issue 16]
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Legal Tips to Fight Gang Validation in California

I am writing in regards to an article titled "False Gang Validations to Repress Latinos" featured in your Under Lock & Key, May/June 2010 newsletter. The author "seeks advice, assistance or referral on how to get word out about biased racial profiling, mass validations, and [officials'] failure to follow their own policies and laws." I am somewhat familiar with the validation process and can only offer advice on that subject. Hopefully it is enough to help steer anyone interested in the right direction.

For starters we have to address the fact that officials are knowingly violating your rights because they know that prisoners are not familiar with the validation process and because appeals coordinators will prevent your CDCR-602 [grievance] appeal from being processed. This is accomplished by screening-out 602s by either applying false rules that don't exist in the California Code of Regulations, Title-15, or the Department Operations Manual (DOM), and by also manipulating current rules by applying them to situations that don't justify the use of that particular rule. The Federal Court in Nunez v. Duncan , 591 F.3d 1217 (9th Cir. 2010) and the State Court in In re Hudson (2007) 143 Cal. App. 4th 1, 49 Cal.Rptr.3d 74, have caught on to these obstructionist tactics and now deem a 602 appeal exhausted if the appeals coordinator prevents you from exhausting your appeal. But you must still follow legitimate and established rules and regulations. The exhaustion exception only applies when officials are the ones who are preventing you from exhausting. So don't be discouraged if the appeals coordinator repeatedly screens out your appeal. Challenge their screen out decision two or three times in order to create a record for the Court that will show you made a good faith effort to exhaust and that it was officials who were the obstructionists.

DOM ยง 54100.8, only allows the appeals coordinator to: (1) screen appeals to determine if you followed proper procedural rules. They are not to use the screen-out form to discourage you from pursuing your appeal by addressing the issue on part "A" of the 602. The issue is to be addressed by a reviewer not the appeals coordinator; (2) this section also prohibits the appeals coordinator from construing the appeals process in any way that would place an unreasonable burden on your right to file a 602; and (3) the appeals coordinator is to provide you with clear instructions needed in order to have your appeal processed. They always screen-out a 602 by telling you what rule you allegedly violated but they don't tell you how to correct the problem. Make sure you insist on clear instructions needed to overcome the screen-out decision. With this in mind we now turn to the validation process.

When a prisoner is being considered for validation, at the minimum, the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and Article 1, Sections 7(a) & 15, of the California Constitution, require prison officials to provide you with: (1) meaningful notice of being considered for validation through a CDCR-114 lock-up order; (2) an opportunity to express your views to the Institutional Gang Investigator (IGI) prior to your validation package being submitted to Sacramento for approval; (3) CDCR-1030 Confidential Disclosure forms for each source of information they intend to count as a validation point (the 1030s must be provided 24 hours prior to IGI interview); (4) officials must designate you as being a current active member or associate by identifying specific gang activity or conduct allegedly performed by you on behalf of the gang; and (5) if Sacramento approves the validation package, you have a right to be taken before a Classification Committee. (see Toussanint v. McCarthy, 926 F.2d 800, 803-05 (9th Cir. 1990); Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F.Supp. 1146, 1276-77 (N.D. Cal.1995); the terms of a settlement agreement in Castillo v. Alameda, Case No. C-94-2847-MJJ (N.D.Cal.), which became binding on the CDCR in September 2004; and California Code of regulations, Title-15, Sections 3378; 3000 (see definition of "gang"); and 3023.)

Once in segregation for validation reasons, the State and Federal Due Process Clause also guarantees you the right to periodic reviews by the Classification Committee on at least a weekly or monthly basis during the first two months of segregation and then once every 120 days thereafter. (see, Toussanint v. McCarthy, 926 F.2d 800, 803-05 (9th Cir. 1990); and Toussaint v. Rowland, 711 F.Supp. 536,540 fn.10 (N.D.Cal. 1989).)

If validated you could challenge each validation point under the Due Process Clause by alleging that each point is unreliable because it does not meet the "some evidence" standard and do not have an "indicia of reliability" as there is no corroboration, the information is hearsay obtained through someone else, or the information is completely false. (see, Superintendent v. Hill (1985) 472 U.S. 445, 105 S.Ct. 2768; Cato v. Rushen, 824 F.2d 703,705 (9th Cir. 1987); and Cal. Code of Regulations, Title-15, Sections 3321; 3084.5(h)(2)(C); and 3378(c)(8)(A)-(M)

If officials allege that you committed a specific act of violence on behalf of the gang, then you are entitled to greater Due Process protections: (1) they must issue you a CDCR-114 Rules Violation Report outlining in as much detail as possible, who, what, when and where this alleged violation took place; (2) they must state what evidence they have to support the CDCR-115; (3) they must allow you an opportunity to present witnesses and documentary evidence; and (4) they must assign an Investigative Employee (IE) to assist you in preparing your defense. (see Wolff v. McDonnell (1974) 418 U.S. 539,563-66; and California Code of Regulations, Title-15, Sections 3315-3319.)

This information is only a basic starting point. You should make every effort to research these cases. Good luck with your struggles.

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[Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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All eyes on Us for Black August

From behind California State Prison enemy lines - from within the Belly of the Beast that is the Amerikan Injustice System - I greet you! I call to your attention the annual commemoration of Black August and invite you - prisoners and your families - throughout Amerika - to join in honoring our beloved martyrs with fasting, study, sharing Panther Love and knowledge of our history of struggle against oppression and for justice, and renewal of commitment to struggle for a brighter future for humanity. In particular, Black August 2010 commemorates the martyrdom of our brothers Sean Bell and Gus Rugley, and our comrades Hasan Shakur, NABPP-PC Minister of Human Rights, Jonathan Jackson, and Comrade George Jackson, Field Marshall of the Black Panther Party Prison Chapter.

We must also remember January 1, 2009 police handcuffed Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Black man, and forced him face-down on the platform of a rapid transit station in Oakland, California. Then one cop shot Oscar Grant in the back, killing him. This cold-blooded murder was caught on cell phone videos and seen by millions. People in Oakland immediately took to the streets in righteous protest. The case has become a flashpoint of struggle in supposedly "post-racial" Amerika and protests have continued. Revolutionaries have been uniting with the efforts of people from a broad spectrum of political beliefs to say This Must Stop, and bringing revolution and communism to the people.

Yes my sisters and brothers,

We shed tears for our fallen brothers and sisters as well as the many children - who have been killed by the oppressors in this land of our exile and enslavement. We have a right to cry over our dead - for every life is precious beyond measure - the loss of each is intolerable. We consecrate this month so that those who have been taken from us will never be forgotten - nor the love of liberty which their lives stood for.

Our grief is real and so is our determination to continue the struggle until all are free and oppression is no more. Our pain makes us stronger and more human. Our determination makes our people struggle. We must get up and stand up as one - a united people - and prepare for revolutionary change in the 21st Century.

To clear our minds, I propose that we eat only one meal a day throughout the month of August, and fast completely on August 7th - in honor of Jonathan Jackson - on August 21st - in honor of George Jackson - and on August 31st - in honor of Hasan Shakur. On these three fast days, we should be silent and contemplative, and throughout the month we should refrain from watching TV and listening to the radio.

During this month, the elders, political prisoners and veterans of the struggle should make a particular effort to reach out to the youth and teach them our history and lessons from our experience. We should demonstrate Panther Love, throw away old grudges, and start new friendships. We should draw our comrades closer and strengthen our united commitment to advance the struggle.

Besides fasting, comrades should work out and get physical exercise, meditate and put mind, body and spirit in harmony.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome this Black August greeting in time for our July/August issue. Black August is truly a people's holiday. And its power is acknowledged in California, where it began and where the state still uses Black August material as a justification to put people in Security Housing Units. While we print this comrades suggestions for celebration during the month, we also warn against ultra-leftism and spirituality. Yes, study history and turn off mindless television, but don't cut yourself off from the world for a month. Yes, exercise and even fasting can be healthy, but learn more about how fasting will affect your body in your specific conditions on a prison diet, and don't decrease your strength through excess.

This communique also comes at a time when we are hearing about the work of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (NABPP) paralleling our own. While we print this statement and have worked with the NABPP elsewhere, we warn our readers that the "MLM" and "Pantherism" of the NABPP is not the same as ours. While the NABPP's practice has generally been commendable, we criticize their ideology as revisionist and crypto-Trotskyist. We discuss the revisionism of NABPP in "Maoism Around Us" and critique one of the NABPP Minister of Defense Rashid's publications in "Fearlessness, Scientific Strategy and Security".

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[Abuse] [Salinas Valley State Prison] [California]
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Punished and unable to appeal

I am writing to let you know about what's happening up in Salinas Valley State Penitentiary here in sunny Cali.

As you all know, we have a budget problem here. All the police are half staffed and close to minimum wage. And pissed. I have recently had a few run ins with the investigation squad (ISU) and always manage to piss em off.

Since then I have been put on a nothing coming status. I cannot seem to get any mail at all. My house gets tossed on a regular basis and they leave everything such a mess it's hard to tell just what they took. Sometimes it takes days to figure out that little things are really gone.

I have recently filed a grievance regarding incoming publications and was reimbursed for two magazine issues. I also wrote the company about the missing issues with the response that four would be resent. This was three months ago. How the hell do they lose four magazines twice?

We have some serious issues with the appeal process here. Sometimes they just don't return our shit so we can't file a repeat appeal to exhaust the grievance process. I recently filed a medical appeal about Hep C and the lady that did the first level interview told me "hey they have it written here on the informal that you were referred to the clinic but I checked your file and there is no record of it." I made sure this lady put that down as her findings. I never received the disposition (the 602). I later tried to file a subsequent appeal. They said "it had already been exhausted." what bullshit!

MIM(Prisons) responds: this story of repression and censorship is all too common in Amerikan prisons. This letter underscores the importance of prisoners who are subscribed to ULK writing to us regularly to tell us what mail you received from us. This helps us to track censorship and then take on coordinated legal battles.

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[Police Brutality] [Organizing] [Oscar Grant] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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Pig Gets Off for Murder

On July 9 at around 2:30 p.m. the announcement was made that the official verdict on the trial of Johannes Mehserle, the transit pig who shot Oscar Grant in the back and killed him, would be released that day, and immediately people started gathering at the major intersection of 14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland, California. At about 4:15 p.m., the verdict of involuntary manslaughter was released. This is the lowest charge that the jury could have chosen to give Mehserle, and as expected, the people of Oakland were pissed. Our comrades attended the protest, equipped with fliers emphasizing that the movement needs to be elevated from rioting into conscious revolutionary struggle generally, and national liberation struggles specifically, if people want to stop the murders of more Oscar Grants. The flier suggested Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth and Black Panther Party original documents as good starting points for a successful transition into a movement to truly end police brutality.

Government employees in the downtown area were under a mandatory evacuation, and business people were high-tailing it out of there as fast as the freeways could take them. The state and the media had hyped it up to be L.A. in 1992. That was far from the case. Still many large buildings were boarded up 20 feet high for days; others were frantically drilling in plywood as protesters converged. The hype was so extreme that even one discount grocery store located a mile from the epicenter of the protest boarded its windows as soon as the jury went into deliberation - as if a crazed mob would travel so far to loot their expired yogurt.

The City of Oakland set up a sound system in front of Town Hall that was supposed to serve as a speak-out, but was just playing funk for a few casual dancers, sometimes so loud that it seemed like they were attempting to drown out the actual protest. The rest of the 1000 people were gathered around a much smaller sound system in the adjacent intersection, having their own speak-out. The soap box ran from about 5-8 p.m., and the "don't tear up Oakland" position that was emphasized so strongly at past protests seemed to have taken a back seat on the collective agenda of the group. Most messages were that this verdict is bullshit, the system isn't going to give justice for Oscar Grant, and we need to organize. There was also a strong recognition that Black people were the targets of this violence and of the need for Black nationalism.

The typical divisive tactics that we had reported on at previous at Oscar Grant movement events was also present. One man insisted on addressing "just the Oaklanders" and advised the Black youth to not get "pimped" by "outside agitators." The response from the crowd was cold. The next speaker said he was also asked to speak on "outside agitators" and went on to point out that Martin Luther King, Jr. was called an "outside agitator" everywhere he went in the South. He said that no one is "outside" the struggle for justice, and went on to point out that the only people who are coming from outside the movement to cause problems were the pigs. This brother received enthusiastic cheers.

This theme was one that had been playing out for weeks within the organizations preparing for the verdict. Reportedly, non-profit leaders and those working with the City government were spearheading the line that the Black youth of Oakland couldn't rebel without white people from the suburbs telling them what to do. This racist bullshit had already been struggled against for weeks leading up to the verdict. While some in the crowd were dismissive of white speakers, telling them to get down, ultimately it was the content of what was being said that the protesters recognized. While there was a strong contingent of self-proclaimed locals saying "be cool" and using the local slang to attempt to create divisions, their effect seemed minimal.

During the speak out, pigs were lined up several blocks from the protest, controlling foot traffic and warning "unsuspecting" bicyclists of the "danger" ahead. At 8 p.m. the soap box was shut down by the City and everyone was hanging out in the streets, occupying several blocks of Broadway. After about thirty minutes, a trash can was lit on fire but protesters put it out within a minute. Occasional bottles were thrown at the pigs, and when any excuse was given to the pigs to attack, many of the protesters would run like hell. The pigs were surprisingly non-reactive, however, and would just occasionally change positions, pushing the protest north on Broadway. This didn't prevent "Fuck the Police" from being the most popular chant of the night.

A Foot Locker was looted, and many people made out with fresh kicks and jerseys. A group of three to four protesters started guarding the Foot Locker and tried to appeal to the protesters to not loot, which they said would prove that they are just ignorant Black people and would prove "them" right ("them" presumably being the white legislators and City officials who they hope to ask for justice). On the other hand, the guards correctly emphasized that there are Black organizations to get involved in to deal with these issues, and that looting the shoe store won't stop killings. If there was a strong Black vanguard in the area, MIM(Prisons) would have worked with them at this event rather than promoting study and building of new cadre groups. That's not to say there aren't a number of small, semi-underground formations that are worth working with, but none of them wield the power or influence to have led the rebellion.

The Black Panther Party asserted the need for a vanguard to organize and lead the masses down the most effective path to power in The Correct Handling of a Revolution, following the uprisings in 1968 across the country. It states, "There are basically three ways one can learn: through study, through observation, and through actual experience." They go on to say that the Black community generally learns through observation and participation. Unfortunately, the lessons put forth in this article were not observable at the demonstrations this year or last, indicating that study is needed. While the fires, graffiti and smashed windows grab our immediate attention, it is the serious organizing efforts that will allow the Oscar Grant movement to have a lasting effect. While it is hard to quantify these efforts now, the mood of the speakers indicate that despite the lack of a vanguard organization leading the rebellions, many are thinking and moving in this direction.

Over the next few hours the crowd gradually dwindled, smoke bombs and fire crackers were set off, windows broken, over a dozen dumpsters and trash cans lit up, graffiti was sprayed, garbage cans tossed into the transit stations, as the crowd was constantly pushed north, sectioned off, and divided by the pigs. At one point the street lights went out and three gun shots were fired from an unknown source, but apparently nobody was hit. Unlike the usual large demonstrations in the Bay Area, many protesters tonight were armed, but attacks on police were limited to rocks, bottles and, according to police, a few molotov cocktails. By 11 p.m., the protest had reduced to small groups launching hit-and-run tactics on stores. Their movement seemed guided by the police, who vastly outnumbered them. At the end of the day, there were 78 arrests.

Although our comrades were not on the front lines for the whole showdown, a tazer was only heard once, and while there were regular explosions heard, no reports are claiming that they were caused by the kkkops. Overall it seemed like the pigs were on their best behavior (for being stinking fucking pigs, anyway). This was clearly unexpected behavior by most protesters, who were constantly running at the slightest sign of action, only to return a few minutes later when they realized the tear gas and rubber bullets had yet to arrive. Activists were expecting the worst, including the use of the a $675,000 long-range acoustic device (a machine that produces sound waves that can cause permanent damage) that the Oakland Police Department recently purchased. Again, it never showed up.

The pigs outnumbered and outlasted the protesters. When the rebels had been reduced to a couple hundred, the pigs still had reinforcements coming in and surely more on standby. The fact that there was no need to resort to severe repression demonstrated their control over the situation. Evidently, they were willing to sacrifice a few downtown businesses as a pressure release. The next morning, the Oakland police chief was celebratory about their ability to control and contain the rebellions.

Mehserle's sentence is due out in November, and could range from 14 years in prison to probation. We expect the day of sentencing to re-ignite these protests all over the state.

Notes: Prisoners write us for a copy of "Oscar Grant: organization, line and strategy" printed on the anniversary of the initial rebellions following Grant's murder.

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[Organizing] [National Oppression] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 16]
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United We Stand: COs split Bs and Cs

The Department of Corruptions, under the guise of safety and security is slowly but surely succeeding in their divide and conquer strategy. They have already been successful at convincing individuals to snitch by offering those who choose to take that road a safe haven. While at the same time they're inciting conflicts in General Population. Here recently the captain of D-yard told a crip inmate that a blood inmate informed on him. Instead of them seeing this for what it was, these two guys ran around the yard telling anybody who would listen that the person was a snitch. The result was that the blood stabbed the crip in the law library. This resulted in the whole Black population being placed on lockdown for 60 days. The excuse for the lockdown was that they had to investigate the situation.

They released a program status report the day after the incident and passed out copies to everyone. They wanted everyone to know it was a blood and crip that was involved. Under any other circumstances it takes the pigs 30 days to release a program status report. At the same time the pigs were walking around like school kids making comments intended to incite the blood and crip conflict. Normally when something like this occurs they only lockdown the groups involved. But this time they locked down all Blacks, which was strange because this was a one-on-one issue that was provoked by the pigs. But this is the norm here in Kern Valley.

This is a maximum security prison. Guys around here claim to be militant revolutionaries, hardcore gangsters and solid convicts. But all I see is a bunch of fools looking for some type of recognition and popularity, until we all wake up and realize that we have to unite in order to overcome the oppressors then we must accept what we get. United we stand, divided we fall, together we can stand tall. Until that happens the pigs will continue to divide and conquer.

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