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.

[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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[Organizing] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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This ain't TV, there's no justice here

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), High Desert State Prison (HDSP) and Lassen County Superior Court are working together to ensure that prisoners' rights continue to be violated! The prison industry and the injustice system stay true to form. According to the propaganda that the U.$. continuously pushes out, "if you seek justice, you should allow the system to work for you." We see this mentality on all the popular TV shows such as Law and Order, NCIS, Judge Judy, etc., as well as in newspapers and magazines. But how can anyone consider a system "just" that fails to protect the basic rights of the people?

You can't, and most people on the outside (that have never dealt with the prison industry) do not and (most) can not comprehend the abuses and atrocities that go on behind the walls, committed by the prison administration and the courts. Take for example the mass validations and blatant violations of prisoners' rights that continue to occur here at High Desert in the administrative segregation unit (Z-unit). I was personally targeted and validated during last year's goon squad sweep. However, I did not sit still and do nothing, no sir, instead I filed an inmate appeal and followed it all the way to the director's level and was denied. Then I filed a petition for habeas corpus and was denied. Now I have to appeal to the appellate courts and we'll see what happens there. Now CDCR validated me as an associate of the NS prison gang, however none of their so-called points that were used against me meet state guidelines or laws. My three supposed points were two lists of names which are considered laundry lists (CDCR agreed to stop using laundry lists in the 2004 Castillo v. Alameda settlement) and one point was I told investigators I had "no comment" during an investigation.

My story is the normal practice here at HDSP and consistently occurs with just about all those who have been validated. And when you turn to the courts, they close their eyes and turn their heads and let the injustice continue uninhibited. So how can we receive justice? We can't, not as long as this capitalist society continues to think about the almighty dollar instead of the needs of the people. And since prisoners equal money to California, the courts and legislators will continue to allow these violations and others to go on until revolution forces a change.

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[National Oppression] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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Appeals Denied on Mass Validation

I sent the grievance petition to the Director of Corrections [in the California Department of Corrections (CDCR)] on the flawed grievance system and how prison officials are purposely violating our rights by using oppressive tactics to stop and hinder us in filing administrative appeals. I received a letter back via a Redding CC II supervisor of high security and transitional housing, stating my letter was received and that the office of the inspector general has the authority to investigate complaints of officials of the CDCR for acts of administrative wrong doing. Basically, the CDCR isn't going to investigate said allegations but I'm welcome to try and get somebody else to. I'm going to strike up an administrative appeal on this issue for I have had a lot of appeals screened out for arbitrary reasons that in some cases can't be met, appeals lost, and just given the run around when trying to get my issues heard. But the appeals coordinator has previously screened out an appeal on him for arbitrarily screening out one of my appeals saying that the appeals coordinator's decision to screen out an appeal "can't be appealed" so I already know filing any kind of an administrative appeal on such an issue will be an uphill battle.

I am one of the 50 to 60 northern hispanics who were wrongly swept up in a mass validation sweep on High Desert State Prison's (HDSP) C-yard and placed in Z-unit (Ad-Seg) on false, unreliable, and insufficient information that doesn't amount to "some evidence" that I'm a prison gang associate. HDSP and CDCR are continuing to deny our administrative appeals, when we can show clear violations of their regulations and the law in how they validated us. I currently have appeals in on my validation. The fact is that they are not allowing us to receive our appliances in Z-unit when our privilege group allows such, the inadequate law library herein, and the fact that we are being held in Z-unit for years and not being transferred to the Security Housing Units. HDSP staff acts as if they're above all laws/rules and can do whatever they want.

I would also like to comment on the false snitches HDSP is breeding. For example, I was placed in Ad-Seg due to Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI) claiming they had sufficient evidence to validate me. But when I was given my validation package it was seen that I was placed in Ad-Seg when I only had one point towards my validation and I didn't receive the other two points that they needed for almost another month. Now IGI was hoping that someone would break and be willing to say anything to get out of Z-unit. You see when someone starts snitching they are moved to a building that allows them to have their appliances and other extra privileges that we are denied here in Z-unit so people desperate to get out of Z-unit will tell the debriefers exactly what they want to hear, be it true or, in most cases, false. Further, the prisoners snitching are usually validated, meaning they went through the whole process, know what the prison officials want to hear and the wording/terms to implicate someone. This system is highly unreliable for anyone can name a prisoner, give h a label/title and prison officials will validate themj just on that type of information.

These are issues that I'm currently dealing with and fighting and I thank you for reading it and also giving it some exposure in your newsletter.

MIM(Prisons) adds: The petition this comrade is referring to is part of the campaign to demand an answer to grievances that are often ignored, destroyed, or screened out for arbitrary reasons. Currently comrades have created petitions specific to California, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma. If you know prisoners who are having their grievances ignored, get in touch with us to get involved in this campaign.

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[Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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Response to my critic in SNY debate

During the past 25 1/2 months I've been physically, verbally and emotionally assaulted, degraded, etc. I've fought several successful legal battles during this time also. Some have been denied all the way up to the State Supreme Court. Either way, I have shown full support to our comrades in arms and ink, unlike some of MIM(Prisons)'s correspondents, specifically one who replied to a previous article I wrote on unity. This particular comrade's response to me was published in ULK 14 (May/June 2010).

In my article, I stated that all comrades must put aside our petty politics of Special Needs Yard (SNY) vs. mainline crap. I am on SNY and have not had a bunch of other prisoners forcing me to do things just because they say it's to be done. I no longer have to fear reprisals for being my own man, or going to groups, religious services or law libraries to help with legal work.

Each person is their own person on SNY, free to do and be what they choose, not through fear, but choice.

The comrade who rips into my article claims it's SNY prisoners that further the Green Wall in prisons. That's pure speculation. It's a fact that mainline and SNY don't really affect that Green Wall either way. Sure, SNY yards aren't perfect. Yes, a lot of creeps run around also. But there is greater freedom and unity on SNY. A forceful riot with violence under threat of punishment on the mainline yards due to active prisoner politics is not even close to a voluntary sit down/riot/strike/protest/etc. by SNY prisoners, nor will it achieve the same results.

I was an active skinhead for well over 7 years in prison. I participated in no fewer than 6 riots/protests under duress. What was accomplished was barely worth my time. It continued the racist segregation, deprived prisoners of even the barest necessities, programs, visits, access to legal libraries, educational and rehabilitative services, and more. This in turn made guard's jobs easier, and allowed them to do less work for the same pay. No great accomplishments.

Not that it's all great on SNY, but I've witnessed greater accomplishments out of an SNY protest. As an SNY prisoner I've been a part of 3 nonviolent protests and 2 riots, each on a voluntary level. The lack of fear helped unite prisoners longer. The camaraderie was more intact, the benefits more noticeable. During one of the nonviolent sit-downs, we accomplished higher wages for the workers in all the Prison Industry Authority factories here, though still not fair wages compared to those of general society.

In another case, a violent riot involving SNY prisoners against guards at Lancaster prison, due to being unfairly denied program and visits for petty crap like "lack of staff to run prisons," a riot involving weapons, was a small success in itself. One guard and 3 prisoners were hospitalized. However, our program was returned to normal, our visits returned, store returned.

To hear this comrade talk shit about how he'd rather be in Administrative Segregation at all times rather than have to go to SNY is not showing unity. If this comrade wishes to do that as his own form of protest, fine. That's on him. If he wants to be confined to a cell 23 1/2 hours a day, lose his privileges, visits, family visits, usual store, and program, fine. I personally think it's nuts, but I will never tell him he's wrong.

He automatically labels a SNY prisoner "his own worst enemy." He says SNYs are full of cowards who afraid of programing. This is false. I tried to stay active when I first attempted to get out of the skinhead gangs, but when the other prisoners attempted to jump me daily, label me a "snitch" when I never told a soul a name other than mine, when I was threatened with being stabbed with a knife due to defending myself from racist politics to further benefit my life, it's a common sense issue to do what I did to survive and get back to my family, the people who I know truly care for me.

I am no coward. In fact, it takes a lot of balls to do what I did, to go against the grain, and to better myself. Since then I have educated myself in several areas: basic education, philosophy, religion, politics, and legal issues to give myself a better chance to succeed in life.

I'm not knocking the comrade that criticized my previous article, but it is my personal opinion that s/he isn't informed well enough to speak on the subject of SNY with any authority. I am. I spent a long chunk of time on active yards as a skinhead, as well as on SNY yards, not out of cowardice as this other comrade implies, but as a drop-out skinhead who wished to succeed in life so as to 1) be able to lower the recidivism rates of CDCR, 2) be able to better assist other comrades who aren't as fortunate as I am and 3) return to my friends and family as they need me there with them far more than they need or want me subjected to slave and torture conditions in prison.

Instead of offering up viable options, this critic ostracizes prisoners and comrades, who a lot of the time just want away from situations that are not useful to any reasonable objective. Actives primarily only want gangs, drugs, racism and politics. They claim to be better than SNY. They preach racism and fighting between prisoners and do nothing that thwarts the Green Wall's efforts at instigating those same tensions. At least on the SNY side, these racist, gang and political differences are virtually non-existent, which requires the Green Wall pigs come up with other ways to instigate things.

I spent nearly a decade on active yards, and I've seen no more than 3 guard stabbings by prisoners. In 4-5 years on the SNY side, I've documented 7+ that I've actually seen. Prisoner assaults on guards are up also, not that it was the best way, it just occurred.

So if this criticizing comrade honestly wishes to help the overall goals of other comrades, maybe he should man up and spread the word instead of wasting his breath on things he doesn't know about well enough. Stop hindering comrades trying to do real helpful things. I may be on SNY but I help both actives & SNY. I'm literally responsible for 4 successful legal suits resulting in the state and CDCR paying out over $12.2 million dollars with over 3 of it going to active prisoners who were abused, including 2 illegal use of force and 1 wrongful death due to negligence.

I ask this other comrade "what have you done for the cause?" I still am in process of 3 other suits, 2 with fair possibilities of victory. Put your money where your mouth is comrade. One day you just may get called upon, one way or another. Both sides of the fence have their issues. But it's not really a problem unless comrades allow it to be, as this other comrade does.

MIM(Prisons) adds: For years, leaders in the lumpen organizations (LOs) in the California Prison system attempted to organize peace summits. These meetings were sabotaged by CDCR intelligence higher-ups, the leaders were further isolated in Security Housing Units, and many hand-picked leaders were given free reign in the mainline. Like we've said before, staying true to your LO does not necessarily mean staying independent of the K9s (the state). It is often the exact opposite. But it is also the case that the LOs are in such a sad state of affairs because of state intervention and manipulation. The LOs do have more potential than most are currently demonstrating, but they have already lost many of their best youngsters who have seen the current errors of their ways as this comrade has.

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[Control Units] [California State Prison, Sacramento] [California]
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Unlock the Box in New Folsom ASU

I'm writing in response to your Unlock the Box survey. in my 22 years of incarceration in California prisons I've spent over 13 years in control units.

While I cannot provide accurate statistical analysis that you request, or much historical background concerning some of these control units, I can at least tell you my personal observations from first hand experience.

California State Prison - Sacramento (aka New Folsom) Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU): I was first placed in this ASU in September 1991 for "inciting" (i.e. participation in an institution food strike protest by writing to the ACLU). The ASU back then consisted of A-facility, housing units 5,6, and 7 (with 8 sometimes used as overflow), with 64 cells in each unit at double cell capacity (except in isolated cases of "single cell" status).

I would say at least 50% of the control unit was, and usually is in any control unit, Latino, the other 50% is divided by varying degrees between Afrikans and Europeans, with a small percentage of "others" (i.e. Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander, etc.). The most common reasons for ASU placement include assault on other inmates or staff, drug possession or trafficking, gang affiliation, enemy or safety concerns, weapons possession, or conspiracy investigations. Sometimes inmates are sent to ASU based on bogus confidential information or some other fabricated reason as a form of retaliation by prison officials.

As far as I know, this unit was first opened in 1985 or 86 as a Security Housing Unit (SHU) during the statewide crackdown on prison gangs. It has since been expanded to include a psychiatric Services Unit (PSU) in housing units 1-4 and a stand alone ASU building behind B-facility, with ASU-EOP in A-5, and ASU-CCCMS in B-4.

The state has recently implemented new control units in some prisons called the Behavioral Modification Unit (BMU), which I don't have much information on at this time. Additionally, most level 4 prisons have built separate "stand alone ASU" facilities which are modeled after Pelican Bay SHU to impose maximum sensory deprivation. In fact, these control units are worse than Pelican Bay SHU because of the deprivation of inmates televisions.

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[Censorship] [Abuse] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Abuse in High Desert hits mainstream, ban lifted

In May 2010, the Sacramento Bee published a series of articles detailing abuses of prisoners in long-term isolation in several CDCR prisons, including at High Desert State Prison (HDSP). (1, 2) On 10 May 2010 they reported on the American Friends Service Committee's attempt to have the brutality claims brought against High Desert investigated by the state Senate, in hopes that an official investigation would lead to restrictions on the use of long-term isolation. (3) We commend the Sacramento Bee for bringing such an important issue to their mainstream audience. (Although judging from the comments left on the article at sacbee.com you would think members of the CCPOA are the only people who read it.)

These articles by the Sacramento Bee reconfirm much of the information published in Under Lock & Key and on www.prisoncensorship.info since January 2008 that staff at HDSP commit a long list of atrocities against prisoners to manipulate them into submission, or for just plain fun. These abuses include, but are not limited to: tampering with mail, privileges, food, and medical care; calling prisoners racist names; tampering with/discarding/ignoring grievances; and the sweeping use of excessive physical force and sexual coercion. (4-6) Recently we received reports of a racist, oppressive lockdown of so-called "northern Hispanics", which further proves that these injustices are still going on today.

As an outside organization sending literature to prisoners inside, the form of repression MIM(Prisons) is most familiar with at HDSP is their strong commitment to keep prisoners isolated by using arbitrary, outdated, and illegal censorship practices. They have consistently returned mail to us unopened. When asked for an explanation, they cited an outdated ban that was overturned in a settlement between Prison Legal News and CDCR in April 2007.

In a letter from HDSP Warden Mike D. McDonald dated April 23, 2010, he uses poor writing skills to ambiguously admit that there is no ban on MIM literature, while still maintaining that all mail from "MIM Publishers" is a threat to security.

"High Desert State Prison has been receiving MIM Publications [sic] from your company which contains information that could pose a threat to the safety of staff and inmates. This publication is in violation of California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 15 and the Department Operations Manual (DOM).

". . . All MIM publications that are sent to this institution will be reviewed on an issue-by-issue basis. If it is found that a publication has violated our policies it will be disallowed and the inmate will receive a CDCR-1819 Notification of Disapproval."

Even though Warden McDonald avoided answering the direct question laid out in the letter he is responding to ("Why was MIM Theory 8: Revolutionary Nationalism returned to us with 'Disallowed Item' stamped on the envelope and no further explanation?"), it is still a step in the right direction for him to allege that lit from MIM(Prisons) will be reviewed on an issue-by-issue basis in the future.

Thanks to the articles in the Sacramento Bee, public pressure on the administration at HDSP is at a high point. We look forward to hearing from prisoners in HDSP regarding their receipt of ULK 14, or those promised 1819s!

notes:
(1) Piller, Charles. "Guards accused of cruelty, racism" Sacramento Bee. May 9, 2010.
(2) Piller, Charles. "California prison behavior units aim to control troublesome inmates" Sacramento Bee. May 10, 2010.
(3) Piller, Charles. "Advocates call for probe of prison abuse allegations" Sacramento Bee. May 20, 2010.
(4) "Response to psycho-sexual warfare article" by a CA prisoner. Published in ULK issue 6.
(5) "High Desert, CA Control Units" by a CA prisoner. Published at [url=https://www.prisoncensorship.info
]www.prisoncensorship.info
(6) "High Desert bans MIM, falsifies reports on prisoners" by a CA prisoner. Published at [url=https://www.prisoncensorship.info

]www.prisoncensorship.info

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