Prisoners Report on Conditions in

California Prisons

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out

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.

[Release] [California]
expand

Paroling with no employable skills

I am writing because I parole soon for the first time since I was 21 and have no employable skills, and was hoping I could get some trade, vocational, engineering, or even how-to cooking or baking books I could study to develop some. Where I parole there are a lot of restaurants.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This is the sad state of supposed "rehabilitation" in Amerika's prisons, where people spend their young adulthood locked up, only to be released to the streets with no way to support themselves. This is just one of many reasons why prisons are very clearly nothing more than a tool for social control for this imperialist government.

chain
[Censorship] [California]
expand

Disregarding mail regulations in California

I'm still hoping that Imperialism and Class Structure in 1997 shows up. These people here have gotten so audacious that they don't even bother to follow their own regulations. One, there's absolutely nothing whatsoever that "threatens the safety or security of the institution" regarding this piece of economics. Two, they're illegally blanketing censorship of all materials from you without even looking at them. And three, they have a procedure that they're supposed to follow, i.e. send the prisoner a rejection of mail form, stating why it's being rejected, and give the prisoner an opportunity to send it back, destroy it, or challenge it via a 602 form.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
chain
[Spanish] [California] [ULK Issue 7]
expand

Negando el correo y derechos legales en Nuevo Mexico

Esta institución aqui es una de las más sobre-controladas en la que anteriormente estado. Uno no puede recibir, libros, revistas, cartas-postales, el periódico, recortes de periódico ni de revista, nisiquiera tienen materiales educativos. Tampoco no puede recibir el correo que venga con xeroxes, ni cualquier otra clase de correo que sea copiada con tinta jet, no copias o fotocopias de la internet, tampoco que le sobre traiga un poco de perfume, lapiz labal o que lleve las palabras de "espero me escribas pronto", ni las inisiales XOXO (que son beso) o las iniciales SWAK (por sus siglas en ingles) sellada con un beso.

Aquí no hemos ningún aceso a la librería legal o a ningún material legal. Yo he recibido correo legal que anteriormente fuese abierto fuera de mi presencia, además me lo han negado mi correo legal porque la información contenida que era de como poder peliarle al systema, que es una ley de un caso que te enseña de los derechos constitucionales para los prisioneros, que es del centro de derechos constitucionales - una companía de abogados de la ley en Nueva York. En el tambiín contenía el libro llamado "The Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook" (un manual que le enseña como a un abogado aunque este encarcelado) cuando los contenidos de este libro fueron vistos, el sobre en el que venía fue sellado de nuevo y regresado.

Todo esto lo estado documentando y agurdando, también escribí una queja de derechos civiles contra el reclusorio Aramak (a un miembro de la Prison Industrial Complex) y tres otros oficiales, pero no he podido meteria, porque me niegan sacarle las copias requiridas por la ley. También me niegan obtener la copia del movimiento monitario de mi cuenta de prisionero que es reqirida por la ley para poder meter mi queja o demanda en "forma pauperis."

Ademas les estaba ayudando y aconsejando a otros diferentes reclusos, a como poder meter una demanda. Yo los tenía metiendo las quejas para cumplir con lo requirido por la "prison litigation reform act." Que es usar todos los remedios administrativos antes de llevar estas quejas a corte, pero la administratción se ha enterado de lo que estoy asiendo y se niegan a responder las quejas, las cuales son las mismas tres que coinciden a las cuales quiero llevar a corte. Se niegan a respondelas porque saben que sin la preveva de que uno cumplio con el poseso de usar todos sus remedios administrativos, uno no puede llevar estos problemas a la corte.

chain
[Legal] [California]
expand

No programs or legal appeal at KVSP

I am writing from Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, California. I am writing to seek outside assistance and support on a few issues of importance and necessity for the entire population's well being. I have personally addressed these issues to Wardens, Captains. Lieutenants, Sergeants and C/Os. The two most common excuses I get are, there is not enough money in the budget or this is a new prison that is not fully up and running. How could this be?

I arrived here in February 2006, and have seen little if any improvements. I opened the 4th building on this yard out of 8 buildings. Unit recently I have been an active participant on the I.A.C. (Inmate Advisory Counsel). Working on that committee afforded me numerous opportunities to address this administration to no avail. All the necessary steps were taken to exhaust appeal procedures, the 602 process here is flawed on all levels. They have the same excuses as everyone else or constantly screen out appeals requesting unnecessary paperwork and then when provided still deny the appeal.

I am currently starting from scratch to create my own paper trail in regards to disinfectant. They simply do not distribute it to the cells. They use every possible excuse when in all reality they do not support their claims. By law and Title 15 Article 5 personal cleanliness Section 3060 means state institutions will provide the means for all prisoners to keep themselves and their living quarters clean and to practice good health habits. The Departmental Operational Manual has numerous paragraphs which concur and support this. Yet it is still not issued.

We also have no self-help groups. IAC did submit paperwork to have one approved and we never heard back. We had our dayroom taken well over a year ago with the promise that it would be returned. We did not abuse that privilege to have it taken in the first place. There is a very limited number of jobs, no NA or AA groups, no hobby craft or in cell hobby which could be consistent with a maximum security prison. A lot of prisoner parole guidelines or lifers board guidelines require them to attend such groups. Well those guidelines cannot be met when this institution does not provide the means to do so.

This is just a short list of problems here at KVSP. I am putting this out there to shine some light on the injustices of prison life. We need outside pressure put on this institution.

chain
[Legal] [Education] [California] [ULK Issue 4]
expand

Fighting for a library

Thank you for sharing the struggle of others bearing much heavier crosses than mine. At this prison I'm trying to establish an Inmate Library Committee - which legally we should already have. The law library is our most powerful tool from within institution walls and the administrative authorities here at this prison have turned our law library into nothing more than a copy room to promote their agenda. The law library here at Mule Creek State Prison does not even have typewriters or provide legal envelopes for purchase or otherwise.

This is my struggle, this is our struggle! The Department of Corrections has coordinated an attack at our ability to be heard by the courts - and the tide is on their side.

chain
[Organizing] [Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 4]
expand

Who's talking in code, pig?

i received your letter today. My Brotha, i did receive your letter in Feb, and i had responded to it, but it was confiscated by the Institutional Gang Investigation Unit (IGI). They claim it was gang related, they claimed New Afrikan Collective is a code word for BGF, now you know how silly my keepers are.

For the past 18 years IGI/ISU [Institutional Gang Investigations/Investigative Services Unit], have used their gang policies as a tool/tactic to circumvent our free speech right, they are using every means at their disposal to censor my voice.

In April and May they all of a sudden decided that my Muslim name was a fictitious name, so, between April 1st and May 29th they confiscated about sixteen outgoing letters under the fictitious name policy. Enclosed is just an example. i have been using my Muslim name since 1982. This had nothing to do with my Muslim name. IGI/ISU were attempting to censor my voice.

i filed a 1983 civil suit (Free Speech & Religious violations). i also sent to the court as an exhibit photo copies of the front of at least 20 letters i had received between Jan and May 29 2008 that clearly shows my Muslim name on each envelope and they passed through IGI/ISU. So this is clear proof that their actions had nothing to do with my name.

...
Your Beloved Brotha,
a California Prisoner

MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade has been a leader in an effort to build peace among the warring groups within the California prison system. The letter that was held by IGI from reaching MIM(Prisons) was regarding these efforts. The Catch-22 that this comrade, and many of us, find ourselves in is that if he writes honestly about the work he is trying to do then he is labelled a gang member and censored. The pigs do everything they can to prevent a peace process from moving forward in a system that has hundreds of race riots every year that have spilled onto the streets, particularly in Los Angeles County. You would think that it was the pigs jobs to encourage violence so that they can further repress certain groups rather than to put an end to this senseless killing.

One of the charges brought against MIM(Prisons) and many prisoner activists to justify censorship of our communications is that we are writing in code. Yet, our track record speaks for itself. The Maoist movement has continuously and tirelessly worked to put an end to oppression and exploitation. Within the prison movement we have put massive resources into providing hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature to help educate prisoners across the country to provide guidance and hope for a better future.

Meanwhile, it is the pigs who use code words such as "gangs" and "security threat groups" to target the oppressed and any efforts to bring peace and progress, without sounding like the racist arms of imperialist oppression that they are. If talking in code is a crime, censor the pigs, and let those of us who have solutions to the social problems of drugs abuse, violence, and national oppression get to working on putting these solutions into practice.

chain
[Abuse] [California]
expand

Conditions deteriorate at Kern Valley

What is the deal at Killa Kern Valley State prison here in California? Is it Amerikka's society economic meltdown, or is it CDCR's capitalist truly saying "buck the world, let's get paid". At the moment Kern Valley prisoners are experiencing some major difficulties with obtaining the things we have coming from the state. And it is becoming worse and worse with each day that goes by. They have come up with a new budget cut campaign, and they aren't doing any playing, or half stepping.

Recently they came with a variety of snake tactics that will help them take from us to save funds, and not be seen doing it. It will be done in a manner that would make society respond with a "so what" attitude.

At this point administration has succeeded in limiting the general population's usage of flushing toilets in order to cut back on the prison's consumption of water. They've shortened the amount of toilet tissue from a small roll to an extra small one. Basically they've forced us (two prisoners per cell) to make what was used to last one person whole week, last two people a whole week. Not only can we not sit on the toilet and pass gas freely while the smell is flushed away to the pipes, keeping the scent out of the cell. We have to figure out a way to keep ourselves wiped properly without using up all of the tissue. It's kind of barbaric if you ask me.

The prices of various canteen items are on the rise like gas prices. Top Ramen noodle soups are 25 cents, up from a recent 20 cents, and the price of rice, beans, and peanut butter is up as well. The dinner trays are ridiculously short, sometimes missing a whole part of the meal. And the nutrition sack lunch isn't so nutritious at all. At the moment California prisoners who owe restitution fees are being taxed 55% of whatever funds their hard working families send them. Coffee is up $7.50 from $4.50, and they are planning to boost the restitution fee by 5%. That's more than half of California prisoner's money taken before they've even got the opportunity to shop at the overpriced shopping market.

They've let this yard off lockdown for the moment, but it seems to be something they've done on paper just to cover their asses and the asses of the California senate. Blacks can't get the same working/education opportunities as other races. Nor can the convict population as a whole receive adequate access to the law library (or religion services).

This institution and its officials are foul. It's as if we're truly being physically attacked by the capitalistic forces, and no one of society is taking note.

chain
[Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 4]
expand

Gang validation of the politically active

A revolutionary abrazo given and sent to all, from the depths of the gallows of chain link fences and barbed wire that has met the consumption in the harvest of plantation Amerikkka. Deprived of our livelihood and recruited in this Industrial Army. We have removed the yoke of oppression creating a commune that refuses to bow to the dictates of this prison industrial complex. Our single cell of multicultural backgrounds has fought against the system since birth. Victims to the judicial demagogue, comprehending that the blind lady of justice is only weighing our pockets.

Because of our political beliefs (that always get misconstrued) we've landed in these deprivation units, for our individual cases as men, we the people, are now prisoners of war. We are labeled and branded from the many scattered sheep entwined in hives of "rehabilitation". We have been singled or rather targeted by networks of a controlled government that uses force to impose rules against our race from above, suppressing individual initiatives in the interest of maximizing these control units, to meet their economic consumption that exploits our people.

Those of us who do not prostrate before CDCR economic, political, and militant demands, can be branded associates to prison gangs. These aggressive policies will not be the means of our demise. I am a Marxist-Lenninist-Maoist and I will not subside my resistance to this Abu-Grahiization (torture). But, on the contrary, I will attack the social injustices that commonly validate our people. CDCR has openly declared its intention to agress and colonize our people by rapid and violent assimilation.

Ideologically, CDCR validates [as gang members] groups cast as enemies by the states hegemonic myth or by the need to isolate people who can be portrayed as the embodiment of absolute evil. CDCR has also campaigned to control the mindset of our people to impose a solution to tough on crime legislation by forcing gang validation as a means to deliberately destroy our culture, which systematically liquidates all of our characteristics of our national society.

In closing, the battle has only begun. The proletariat will mobilize in mass demonstration in words with a singe of revolutionary fervor. Our social being has led to our consciousness, we serve as the vanguard for and of the oppressed. So, it is our obligation to help awaken the nucleus of all our peoples, in seeing that we've all been validated in classes and singled out by this fascist plutocracy.

chain
[Theory] [California]
expand

Imperialism is disgraceful, not communism

I’m writing to let you know that I received Under Lock and Key #3 and MIM Theory #4. I’ve been reading everything you send and other readings on communism and revolutions. I’ve also been sharing with others the reading material you’ve sent. I’ve been trying to have discussions about MIM and communism with as many people as I can.

I’m not well educated but I know in my heart that communism is the purest form of democracy. I know there are people who believe in the proletarian struggle, but don’t believe in communism when both go together like a pair of shoes - they have to be the same colors and size in order to fit, right? People tend to get offended by the word communism. They don’t like it, they think communism is the most disgraceful, evil word they’ve heard. But they’re over here calling their girls bitches and each other niggas, some even call themselves democrats or republicans (they’re not even allowed to vote).

They must not know about the death squads and bomb and arms the imperialists supply or force on the world to destroy itself for their profits, benefits and well being. People don’t think that’s disgraceful, but they think communism is. They think it’s mythical, they don’t take it to the heart.

Just the other day I was having a discussion about MIM Notes and someone said something like “I don’t read that cause you might get black listed.” That showed me that people are still not free enough to think for themselves. I know this was the propaganda talking but there’s always that fear in your head which the imperialists put there so you won’t get out of hand.

chain
[Control Units] [California]
expand

Pelican Bay a dead end

I've been in CU [Control Unit]. We're allowed to go to the yard, but we have to go to the concrete yard. The concrete yard is about two times the size of the cell we're living in. Nobody to talk to or work out with.

The most humiliating thing taking place here in the department of corrections Pelican Bay State Prison is this: the institution shows what are called institutional movies for the prisoners - the movies are purchased with funds from institutional welfare. But the kinds of movies we're allowed to watch are rated PG. It's like they are trying to put the prisoners in a child's state of mind. The whole prison is considered a control institution, but it is an insult to a grown man to have to watch children's movies. We're talked to like children, and when we speak up as men we're written up.

The institutional program is supposed to be racially balanced, but I'll demonstrate just how racist it is in here. A while back I filed a grievance about them taking my walkman. They told me that I couldn't possess a walkman and a typewriter. They denied my petition arguing that I could have both. But another prisoner who is white filed the same argument and they gave him his typewriter. Now they let everyone get typewriters, but only after a petition was filed by a white prisoner.

There isn't any program for a lifer in here. I can't even take care of myself. I have a job in which I make 13 cents an hour, and I get paid for just two hours a day.

chain