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.

[Censorship] [Control Units] [California]
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High Desert ban's MIM, falsifies reports on prisoners

Hello there, it's been a long time since I wrote. I have been looking for your address for a long time now and just my luck someone happened to have it. Well please, let's catch up!

First of all, I don't know if you knew, but High Desert State Prison has put you on its black list. We can not receive your monthly newsletter anymore (which I always love to read). We both know why they banned you from this prison. High Desert is so corrupt, they fear that through you we prisoners could shine a light on them. Also, the town of Susanville, which is where almost all of the Correction Officers (COs) are from are majority white and is a tightly knit community. Almost everyone who works here knows one another or are family.

Now I am in the hole for a so-called attempted murder on a peace office (that's what High Desert State Prison is saying). I've been here in the hole for the last year now and have been retaliated against. I've been starved, made to sleep in the cold, made to live in unsanitary conditions, I was forced to live in inhuman conditions. All my mail was being thrown away (incoming and outgoing). I have complained and all this prison would do is an inquiry.

I also have complained about COs falsifying reports and doing a lot of guess work and false charging me. High Desert State Prison knows that this whole thing happened because one of their COs assaulted a prisoner who was in handcuffs and in the program office. When prisoners tried to ask what happened this same CO assaulted a prisoner again.

The CO only received a redness to his cheeks and he refused medical aid. This CO walked off the yard on his own and also before he walked off assaulted prisoners who were on the ground and handcuffed. I have complained about these assaults, but High Desert State Prison is trying to cover up for their COs and also filing false reports.

You could read the reports and see that COs are making things up as they go. All reports don't make sense or are all contradictory to each other. High Desert has filed my case to the DA and even the DA did not believe that an attempted murder had happened.

The DA did pick it up as a battery though. High Desert would not investigate their own. I have tried and tried to complain about it, but my complaints never got answered. Also High Desert staff are doing a lot of these attempted assault claims and beating up prisoners. 602s are not to be given back to prisoners until their time limits are overdue so prisoners can not continue their complaints.

Well, as I can not receive your newsletter, I hope that you will print this in your newsletter and shine a little light on this place.

I will keep up the struggle.

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[Medical Care] [California]
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Flush limits on toilets needs challenge

Salutations and respect to all the progressives working on behalf of the people there.

I'd like to find out of anyone has heard of and/or successfully challenged CDCR's new policy concerning controlled flushes on the toilets this institution (SVSP) is now in the process of installing them here and I've heard they've been placed in other institutions across the state as well.

It goes without saying with the California overpopulation and lockdown crisis as well as the inadequate and broken health care system, this new diabolical scheme by CDCR will surely cause a lot more prisoner suffering, if not properly challenged.

Any and all information on this subject matter will be greatly appreciated.

Faithfully strugglin'

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[Censorship] [Theory] [California]
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Response to ULK issue #1 on "captives" and censorship

Revolutionary greetings! First I want to say I just received your ULK number 1 and I read it front to back and I must commend you comrades on an outstanding job. I really enjoyed it and will continue to enjoy it until my next issue! It has been a while since I last received word from you comrades or received any of your literature so it was very well received.

Here at Tehachapi SHU we are not being given our MIM Theory or MIM Notes. I have 602ed (appealed) this issue on 4 different occasions because a common practice here at Tehachapi SHU is for 602s to get "lost" so what I have done is send my 602 straight to the appeals director in Sacramento, letting him know the issue of appeal and how this prison don't answer or even return appeals on serious issues. What the director will do is send my 602 back telling me to "exhaust all levels of appeal" before sending it to him, but it often times will come with a "log number' and this will force this prisons appeal coordinator to act on it. Once I get it back I will send you a copy.

You comrades did an excellent job in getting Under Lock and Key behind the walls but I do miss MIM Notes and Theories. I wanted to comment on the comrade's letter on wanting to be called "captive". The word captive conjures up the slave master holding his captives (slaves) so on the one hand, I think captive is a good portrayal of the people chained to this capitalist system. Yet on a higher conscious level I think when we recognize the inner workings of this system and what causes slavery in the first place is capitalism, so we need to get to the heart of the issues, capitalism caused slavery, racism, injustice, patriarchy, control units, prison abuse, police abuse, etc, etc. The list goes on but capitalism is at the heart of the issues, thus our imprisonment becomes political because of the system that imprisons us. So I feel the proper name for us locked up in these modern day plantations is "political prisoners." With that said, I will await the next ULK issue.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[Censorship] [California]
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Law library access blocked

I got your letter. No thanks are needed for pushing this paperwork. I'm only doing what I think is right for a very worthwhile cause [fighting censorship of MIM literature].

I haven't got into the library since the last time I was there which was about three weeks or more ago. The current librarian hasn't called me or two other people from this building and I don't think it’s a coincidence that these other two people have active lawsuits in the court right now. These other guys are the same ones who agreed to help me file and see this thing through. The library has been running consistently for the past three weeks, so there's no excuse or reason for the workers to not call us in, other than to halt our progress and our work. I'm giving her one more day before I file a grievance against her, if only to get the ball rolling again. As it stands right now, I will no longer be able to file suit in February as I planned.

I still haven't heard back from the Department of Justice, but it shouldn't be too much longer.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[Censorship] [Spanish] [California] [ULK Issue 2]
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California Prohibe MIM Distributors

El Departamento de Correciónes y Rehabilitación de Califonria (CDCR) ha instituido una prohibición en material educativo dentro de prisiones, categoricamente censurando toda la literatura mandada por MIM su programa "Educacion de prisionero." Esta prohibición fue ordenada por Scott Kernan, Director de la Division de las Instituciones Adultas por California, en un memoranda publicado en Diciembre 13, 2006 "dirijiendo una prohibición inmediata en el recibimiento, poseción, o distribución de literatura/publicaciones de MIM hacia o de prisioneros en la custodia del CDCR." Esta prohibición ha sido interpretado por prisiones que incluye dicionarios y libros históricos e incluso hasta MIM su propia revista y periódicos. En algunas prisones la prohibición ha sido interpretada que también incluye todas las cartas escritas por MIM.

Esta censura es en violación directa del precedente legal el qual requiere ser revisado por contenido que viola reglas de prisión. Sistematico rechaso de todo correo por una organización basado en desacuerdo con el remitente y su política no es legal, hasta dentro del sistema de prisión y sus propias reglas y regulaciones.

Ni Kernan tampoco la administración de prisión applicando la prohibición nunca han proveido ni una evidencia que literatura del MIM, muchos menos, cartas, diccionarios y otros libros MIM manda a los prisioneros, presenta alguna amenaza a la institución. La carta de Kernan contiene una revisión de la linea politica del MIM como evidencia suponiendo que MIM representa algo de peligro a las prisiones de California. El codigo de regulación de California (CCR) Titulo 15, sec: 3135(b) dice: "Descuerdos con el remitente o el recivicor y aparentes valores morales, actitudes verazes, o preferencia de palabras no será usada por el personal correccional como una razón para rechazar o detener el correo. Personal correccional no debe desafiar o confrontar el remitente o al recividor con tal valor de juicia, tampoco debe tal valor de critica ser considerado en ninguna acción afectando el correspondiente." Además, en Procunier v. Martinez, la Corte Sumprema sostuvo el derecho de prisioneros de recibir correo, sin importar la opinión del oficial de prisión en el contenido del correo, mientras no ahiga restricciones legitimas de la prisión relacionado con propositos correcionales.

Hay una fuerte correlación entre educación y aprisionamiento. De acuerdo con el Buro de Estatísticas de Justicia (el Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos y su propia organización) el más reciente estudio de 1997 de información de población, 41% de prisiones de estado y federales no han completado preparatoria. Esto comparado con 18% de la población general 18 y mayores. (1) Las cosas se miran aun peor entre prisioneros edad 29 hasta 39 demostrando que la inclinación es hacia mas prisoneros sín una educación de preparatoria como prisoneros más jovenes están aun menos educados que las prisioneros mayores. Otros estudios más recientes han enseñado que esta inclinación continúa. La probabilidad de terminar en una prisión es tremendamente más alto para jóvenes de raza negra quienes paran de atender la escuela antes de obtener un diploma de preparatoria. Y un titulo coleguial es más protección contra el aprisionamiento.

En el otro lado de la educación, programas de educación dentro de prisión han repetidamente estado enseñando que reduce el reofendimiento ayudando los prisioneros a encontrar trabajos y oportunidades cuando ellos son puestos en libertad. Estudios individuales y metalicos repetidamente concluyeron lo mismo.

Desde 1990, la literature ha mostrado que prisioneros quienes atienden programas educacionales mientras ellos están encarcelados son menos probable de retornar a prisión después de su salida. Estudios en varios estados ha indicado que en promedio 24% ha desminuido donde han recibido una educación apropiada. Además, la clase correcta de programs educacionales lleva hacia menos violencia por los presos envueltos en los programas y un ambiente prisionero más positivo. (2)

California ya tiene uno de los más altos porcentaje de reofensa en el país, con un inmenso 70% de prisioneros en libertad terminando para atras en prisión dentro de tres años. Y en años recientes nosotros hemos visto que programas de educación, visitación, y hasta correo recortado, asi los prisioneros son dejados con muy poco que hacer detrás de las barras y virtualmente un imposible trabajo de ir derecho de prisión hacia las calles sin una educación o servicios transicional.

Implementando una prohibición por todo el estado de material educativo del MIM es una manera más de mantener los prisioneros encarcelados. Prisioneros quienes leen nuestra literatura frequentamente nos dicen que ellos aprenden a canalizar su tiempo dentro de actividades productivos en vez de participar en violencia detrás de las barras. Y la educación ayuda ellos a tener una mejor oportunidad de estarse en las calles una vez ellos son puestos en libertad. Nosotros recibimos cartas preguntando por material que leer como esta todo el tiempo: "Soy un prisionero del estado en el Valle Salinas y estoy en una yarda que ha estado en encierro constantemente por aproximadamente cuatro años. Por eso me encuentro sin poder llegar a la librería aquí. He leido cada panfleta. Estaría muy agradecido por cualquier clase de libro cuberita suave que puedan mandar. Cualquier cosa que tu mandes sera leido y releido por bastantes prisioneros." Seguramente el CDC"R" sabe que allá hay una demanda de material para leer en la prisión, pero ellos ni siquiera se molestan en llenar este vacio con novelas de pelusa. Ellos prefieron gastar su gran paquete en salarios más altos para sus brutales guardias y defensa legal de sus actividades ilegales tal como crear pleitos como deporte.

Claro, el CDCR tiene razones en prohibir el MIM a los prisioneros. Educar los prisioneros es contrario a sus metas. Con la educación viene la conciencia, y mientras los prisoneros trabajan con MIM reporta que evitan enfrentasiones violentas (con los dos, sus semejantes y los guardias), también ellos son más probables a tomar apelaciones legales y administrativas, y de educar y organizar sus propios compañeros prisioneros para levantarse por sus derechos legales. Como un prisionero de California nos escribió en octubre del año pasado:

Extendiendo mis respetos hacia todos, me gustaría tambien expresar de todo corazón mi agradecimiento a todo aquel que trabaja, trabajando con y/o afiliado con el Movimiento Internacional Maoista por todo lo que ustedes hacen y el servicio que proveen. Especialmente, con respeto a las prisioneros. Hablando de experiencia personal yo puedo decir que recibiendo y leyendo tus boletines, es las dos cosas, una mayor motiviación y fomentación. Decir que tus Notas MIM me ha servido bien no cubre nada en especifico, pero puedo decir que tus notas han sido un potente ingrediente hacia mi transformación: y tu programa de libros gratis para prisioneros me ha criado y alimentado como un pequeño en los pechos de su madre. Los libros que tu me has mandato tan generosamente, me han enseñando a respetar y valorar la importancia de una educación... una educación que me ha enseñado que con el conocimiento viene enorme responsibilidad. La responsibilidad que surgue de no solo saber la diferiencia entre lo que se dice ser bien, o mal, probando y deseifrando, verdades y mentiras, pero sabiendo y actuando en acuerdo con lo que es consistente y progresivo en el ejercicio de determinación personal y defensa personal.

Nosotros continuarámos persiguiendo el pleito contra esta prohibición en California, trabajando sercamente con nuestras compañeros detras de las barras para disputar esta acción en corte si es necesario. Nosotros animamos el CDCR liderazgo y los politicos del estado de California a levantarse hacia adelante y derrocar esta prohibición ilegal antes de ellas ser forzados a desperdiciar dinero sin necesidad en una batalla legal que solamente expondrá sus despreocupaciones para la reabilitación, el bienestar de prisioneros, y los propias leyes ellos afirman sostener.

Necesitamos ayuda de prisioneros en este batalla, y el suporto de la gente afuera para parar esta prohibición. Manda cartas de protesta a: James Tilton, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 1515 S. Street, Sacramento, CA 95184.

Notas:
1. Buro Estatistico de Justicia de Reporte Especial: Educacion y Poblacion Correccional, Enero 2003.
2. Boletin Correccional de educacion, v55 n4, p.297-305, December 2004. Tambien mira "La Nacion" Marzo 4, 2005. Estudios han demostrado que participantes en educación de prisión, vocación y programas de trabajo tienen una tendencia en promedio de 20-60 porciento mas bajos que esos sin participar. Otro reciente estudio mayor de prisioneros encontro que los participantes en programs de educación fueron 29 porciento menos probable de terminar para atras en la carcel, y que los participantes ganaraon salarios mas altos despues de su salida.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[Political Repression] [National Oppression] [California]
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Repressing Natives for organizing in California

These capitalist lapdogs in California had my native ass locked away in the gulag within the gulag for inciting and when that didn't work they got "kites" detailing my supposed involvement in a plot to assault the spiritual adviser. How utterly ridiculous! #1. We (my spiritual advisor and I) had no such animosity between us. #2. Said actions on my part, should they reflect anything based in reality, would get me banned in Indian country (the native community). #3 Said materials only came on the heals of their failed attempt to ship me out of the joint in response to paperwork filed against them for failure to adhere to federal mandates in regard to native american spiritual services. The contemptible bastards!

Anyway, as you may notice, they finally succeeded in transferring me to San Diego. Ha! They have inadvertently done a great service, for in so doing, they have placed me in an environment ripe for political agitation. A healthy population of natives and the imperialist lackeys here are in compliance with J. vs. Martinez and other such censorship cases.

I have, however, during my fight, lost my revolutionary literature. All the books I had received or acquired through other comrades, all MIM Notes, the manifesto of the Communist Part, MIM Theory #9, and my What is MIM pamphlet. Anything you comrades can aid me with would be very appreciated. I'll be in a position to blast some stamps your way for some books rather soon. I'm really missing the dialectical materialism book as I'd just got a hold of it and hadn't really been able to get into it.

Struggling to educate the masses.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [California]
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Para Bellum

You can toss to the right all the weak bullshit
All your fuckin jive
"the earth will be inherited by the meek"
Nah fuck that
The socialist revolution is what we seek
Know that we are toe tagged the minority
But really we are the majority
Victims of the imperialist war animal
Canibal
That which destroys with the right
What the left creates
And the Proletariat?
Their left to pick up the pieces
And fight against the hate
So, fuck you capitalist lackeys!
It's all over now
There is no more time for silence
We must stand
A red tide
Against the $ystem
That perpetuates our internal violence
Take the blinders from your eyes
Recognize
That we are the downtrodden
And disenfranchised!
Alienation and exploitation
It's all inherent
To the imperialist $ystem
Hell bent on subduing the masses
Wake up!
And quit enrolling into their stupidity classes
So raise your revolutionary consciousness
In time to Para Bellum
for only then may we fell them.

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[Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 2]
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Legal research on censorship

I've been in and out of this prison law library and I've found some information that should be placed in the Under Lock and Key section of MIM Notes. According to the California Prisoners Rights Handbook, page 49:

Prison officials are permitted to open and read most incoming and outgoing mail, except legal or confidential mail that may not be read by prison staff. Such "regular" mail may be withheld or censored only when necessary for the reasonable protection of the public. Mail cannot be censored because prison officials believe it improperly magnifies complaints or contains inflammatory remarks. A prisoner should receive notice of any mail that is withheld or is returned.

I've studied other law books and prison officials taking our mail or sending it back is dead wrong. I've heard that the prisons and their officials are supposed to be letting us prisoners get our political books back, but it's just a rumor as I've heard. I will keep studying the law books.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[Legal] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California]
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No law library acces at Kern Valley

The one most important problem we have here at Kern Valley State Prison is being allowed access to the law library.

We have a law library with a fire hazard safety code of 25 people max at a time. So there is never more than 20 people allowed in the library. There are only 4 law books total, and 4 CD Rom computers which 20 inmates have to share in a time frame of 3 hour sessions.

You have to take into account that there are 8 buildings on each facility with 160 prisoners in each building, and due to prison over crowding we now have 80 level III gym sleepers illegally sharing a lever IV yard. They can not come out with us due to the fact that they will be sued if one is attacked. But they share our library and visiting room.

So you have 1200 plus prisoners, some of whom are true litigators, sharing a law library that only 20 people can get into at a time. As you can imagine, the waiting list is 2 to 3 months every time. I turned in a request to do some legal research on September 22nd. Here it is 62 days later and I'm still waiting. There are several grievances being circulated on this issue. Administration has proposed to adopt a paging system where we can fill out forms for supplies and have them brought to our cells, but that dose not solve the problem for people who need physical access to seek what they are looking for.

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[Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 2]
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California housing integration an excuse to lock more prisoners in control units

What is the effect of a new section, 3005, 3269.1, 3315 and 3341.5 of Article 1.6 of Subchapter 4, Chapter 1 of the Title 15, Division 3 of the CCR (California Code of Regulations) that will be felt by California's prison population?

This question, which may confuse your average low down convict held captive by this imperialist state, will be answered by one who is incarcerated and both interested and caring about the well being of this prison society, like myself. Sec 3005, 32691, 3315 and 3341.5 are all sections of the California Department of Corrections (CDC) Title 15 Rules and Regulations that have recently been changed, to implement the department's new behavior control tactic of integrated housing. This is a plan that the secretary of CDC, Mr James E. Tilton published to the public on the date of June 18, 2007 and will attempt to prescribe into prison law in the following manner:

* The insurance that race will not be used as the primary determining factor in housing the department's inmate population. All inmate housing assignments shall be made on the basis of available information, individual case factors, and objective criteria, to implement an integrated housing plan. It is the intent of the CDC to ensure that housing practices are made consistent with the safety, security, treatment, and rehabilitative needs of the inmate, as well as the safety and security of the public, staff, and institutions.

* The housing plan involves an interview with the inmate, a review of the inmate's central file, and a review of all available and relevant information. The housing plan will use all available information to determine an inmate's eligibility for integration and will assign inmates to available and appropriate bed based on their integrated eligibility.

* Implementation of the integrated housing plan will occur over several phases. The first phase will occur in 2007 and will consist of the development of an integrated coding system that will be used to identify each inmates eligibility to integrate. The actual implementation of integrated housing will commence in 2005 at designated facilities such as reception center, and then be phased in statewide commencing in 2009, over a period of several years.

Now I understand that our people of society may take this plan and the implementation of this plan as something greatly needed in California prisons. That is the reason for the CDC claiming that this plan was designed because integration in other states has assisted in the management of gangs and disruptive groups and reduced racial tension. Integration of housing in other states has also assisted with breaking down prejudicial barriers, perceptions and attitudes, promoting increased tolerance of others reflecting community norms.

Wow! With that type of talk you would think that the department is actually making an attempt at changing California's wicked prison system. Yea right! Take it from a California prisoner, looks can be deceiving. In digging deeper into the core of this matter, one may retrieve some very disturbing news for California's prisoners. The integrated housing plan is a trap and nothing but it. Although the CDC states that the plan is designed with an overarching strategy for safe implementation and not forced integration, they also state the options for inmates who fail to comply, such as rule violation reports and alternative housing placement.

Non-compliance will be rewarded with a RUR-115 or a stay in either ASU or the SHU until they agree to integrate. Refer to new Title 15 subsection 3269.1 or 3005(c) - It's not a forced integration, but if you refuse you will be labeled as a non-compliant inmate and dealt with accordingly. Wouldn't you say that's real contradictory? I know I would. But then again I'd say everything that the CDC does and says is contradictory! CDC claims this effort and plan is intended to control gang and race wars, but California is one of the most gang infested states there is. About 90% of California prisoners are gang affiliated. [MIM notes: we can not verify this statistic, but we do know that the prison classifies many prisoners as gang affiliated upon entry into the prison simply based on their nationality and birthplace. The prisons then promote tension and conflict between these groups, making it dangerous for them to live in the same areas.]

The department claims that its response to the non-compliant inmates will be the placement of these prisoners into control units known as ASU and SHU housing. But one may fail to realize that the Department of CDCR is limited on its ASU and SHU housing bed and space, therefore they have nowhere to place the masses of those who refuse to integrate. Or at least that's what they tell us.

California state Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger just recently asked the U.$ Supreme Court for permission and funds to add a couple thousand beds and add on to some of the institutions already built. The CDC knows that with all the prison politics and prison gang warfare, there's no way in hell that prisoners will accept an integrated housing plan. At least not on the level fours (Maximum Security yards). Therefore they look good to the public when they come saying they need funds to build more control units for the non-compliant inmates who are too violent for general population. When in all actuality what they're really saying is, give us some money and we'll use the integrated housing plan as our front and reason to remove all the real brothers who are willing to go toe to toe with them for the cause, from the general population. See they want lay down yessa masters like Jessie Jackson on the yards, so they don't have to do their jobs and still get paid. So they can shit all over the prison population and not be held accountable for it. If they lock up all the non-compliant inmates then they don't have to worry about brothers being on their heads for them to do the things in which they are paid to do. They don't have to worry about so called gangsters and thugs uniting together as a convict structure like in the 60s and 70s with our comrades the Soledad Brothers.

The effect that the integrated housing plan will have on the California prisoners, is the destruction and I mean the total destruction of prison civilization. We think we got it bad now. Let them come with this plan of integration in 2009 and truly lock all those who refuse in the SHU indeterminately. We are going to see how bad prison can really get.

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