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.

[Education] [Abuse] [Censorship] [California]
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Prisons cutting off education access, increasing brutality

I know you are having trouble getting lit in to the prison. In the BMU (Behavior Modification Unit) it seems they are trying to deplete the literature that is already in the system, while not allowing any new lit in. There are also new restrictions popping up around the state on the number of books you can have. The point: they are trying to systematically prevent alternative education. They want to limit you to the education they provide. GED, basically next to nothing. It is no coincidence that the individuals being flooded with 115s, and placed in BMU are, the jailhouse lawyers, the political educators, and non-conformists, i.e. revolutionary minded individuals. All of these adverse policies must be attacked at the same time. If we get them to allow lit back in it is meaningless if they can just put you in BMU and send it home, it is also costly.

Myself and a bro we will call "Z" were fighting the censorship. "Z" has been doing time since 1974. They transferred him to Corcoran SHU in May. In June they vacated my indeterminate SHU, and placed me in ad-seg pending transfer. I now have none of my property. My property was trans-packed pending transfer to SVSP or CSP general population. Transfers have been routinely taking 6 months or so. It is clear these pigs are serious about repression.

This battle may come to the knife. They are getting physical. They pepper spray people around here on a regular basis. As well as beat people. Something as small as complaining about a missing item on your dinner tray is enough to get you splayed and whipped. The attitude of the pigs seems as if it has changed overnight. I mean it is real bad. They pepper sprayed a guy the other day because he refused breakfast. This kind of abuse is condoned by the brass up to the warden. I don't see how it cannot come to the knife if we have no redress. Appeals are met with more abuse. They routinely use punitive measures and intimidation to get inmates to drop appeals, or to keep other inmates from coming forward as witnesses. The tactics and practices of the Green Wall are spreading at an alarming rate. These practices are not just spreading amongst the rank and file pigs, but the administration.

Please note the struggle against censorship is my top priority. I realize that the education of the prison population is important to our overall struggle for prisoner rights. I am trying to do a quick analysis of the situation. We already have a strategy we are just revisiting our tactics to meet the environmental change. Any assistance MIM could provide in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

MIM replies: We know that it often seems like there is no way to beat the prison administrators and brutal guards, who use violence against prisoners daily, without resorting to violence. But we also see that attacking from behind enemy lines almost always leads to greater repression. And so we urge our comrades behind bars to avoid violence. Obviously prisoner on prisoner violence only serves the prisons. But prisoners retaliating for guard brutality just gives them another excuse to beat you up. We must organize our fight strategically especially when it looks like we are losing ground.

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[Political Repression] [Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Resisting the subversive extremes of political persecution

We, the new Afrikan Black prisoners who are being held captive in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison in the state of Kalifornia, are currently being placed under siege and arbitrarily persecuted for our political beliefs. The means of political persecution that we are being subjected to is being perpetuated on multiple fronts by our kaptors, such as 1) The continued infringement upon our 1st amendment right to the freedom of political expression and political activity, 2) The continued criminalization of our political beliefs/viewpoints as allegedly being the expressed activity of promoting gang and criminal activity in the interest of a particular prison gang. These fascist pigs have been relentless in this area, in spite of the fact that time after time it has been proven that the content of the ideological political beliefs expressed are not advocating any form of violence or criminal activity, 3) subjecting us to round 'da clock cell searches, to where any and all New Afrikan revolutionary reading material (books/writings) is arbitrarily confiscated. In particular, as it related to materials that identify with the ideological principals of New Afrikan revolutionary nationalism or the honorable and beloved comrade George Jackson, 4) The confiscation of our outgoing/incoming mail that also advocated the ideological principles of our fallen comrade George Jackson, and 5) The accumulative effect from these subversive practices is that, the material is then used against us, in order to substantiate their arbitrary decision to keep us New Afrikan Black prisoners held indefinitely in the SHU.

Note, these factors are also utilized against us at our parole board hearings, in determining whether we are suitable for parole or not. And based on the arbitrary threshold of interpretation in identifying us as prison gang members on account of our political beliefs, being found suitable for parole is out of the question.

These fascist practices are continuing, with no means to an end in sight. And this is in spite of the fact that there have been several court rulings rendered forth in our favor, to where the courts have consistently stated: "George Jackson, and the ideological political beliefs of George Jackson do not constitute a material basis for a prisoner being involved in the promotion of criminal and gang activities…"

The most recent court ruling was rendered forth on June 15, 2005 by the Del Norte County Superior Court, Case No: HCPB-04-5054. The basis of litigation centered around the fact that Pelican Bay State prison officials had arbitrarily confiscated an incoming mail package that was being sent in from Santa Rosa Junior College (prisonerwriting.com). The incoming mail package contained a political science study manual that was put together by the personnel of George Jackson University. The following reasons were given as to why the incoming mail package was being disallowed: 1) The political science study manual contained the names of several validated prison gang members, 2) prison officials had deemed the address that the incoming mail package was being sent from to be a prison gang mail drop box, and 3) they had identified comrade George Jackson as being a prison gang member, in light of a photograph of George Jackson that was featured on the political science study manual. Prison officials went on to cite the following citations and provisions of the California Code of Regulations, as a basis to justify their confiscation of incoming mail: CCR, Title 15, Sections 3006(c)(16), 3023(a), 3136(a).

On June 15, 2005, the Del Norte County Superior Court, by way of an evidentiary hearing that was held, firmly disputed and disagreed with the reasons that Pelican Bay State Prison officials gave in confiscating and disallowing the incoming mail. In fact, the court went as far as to say that "the reasons that were given by Pelican Bay State Prison officials were exaggerated." And concluded that 1) the photograph of comrade George Jackson did not constitute the promotion of gang, criminal, or violent activities, as in the words of Pelican Bay's own gang specialist Devan Hawkes: George Jackson is a member of the Black liberation movement and not a validated prison gang member, and 2) the address on the incoming mail package was not a prison gang mail drop as alleged, but was in fact an address to an academic institution for higher learning (Santa Rosa Junior College). It should also be noted that three individual pages were withheld because the issue of prisoners having a fundamental constitutional 1st amendment right to the freedom of association was not raised. These three individual pages had the names of fellow New Afrikan Black political prisoners of war, to whom Pelican Bay prison officials have arbitrarily targeted/labeled as being members of a prison gang. I have since obtained a copy of the transcripts (partial) from this evidentiary hearing, which outlines the material facts of this court ruling.

Using our historical ideological line of struggle as our guide to understanding the true nature of these fascist pigs (prison officials), we should realize that these fascist pigs have never been bound to the obligation of upholding and abiding by any laws that are created by the U$ government that don't serve their own perverse interests, as defined by the corrupt and decadent nature of the social system of U$ imperialism.

With the prison industrial slave complex being an extended mechanism of oppression for the U$ government, the only applicable means of justice that can be realized is through the power of the people. So lets mobilize around this issue and do what is necessary in exposing the unjust and fascist nature of political persecution that we New Afrikan Black political prisoner of are being subjected to.

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[Control Units] [Racism] [Political Repression] [California]
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California Trumped Up Gang Validation

I got your information off the internet via my familia on the streets. And I felt compelled to reach out to you, as well as to share with you a little bit about myself and the struggles my loved ones and I have been blessed with. The state will tell you I'm here for a second degree murder. Of course I will tell you that it is much more complicated than that. My co-defendants, (three out of four of them were relatives) faced frivolous allegations of "gang association." Imagine that, you grow up in the barrio and know some, even grew up with some, "gang members" and they labeled us all a gang and called the alleged drunken brawl a gang fight, which legally, totally changed and prejudiced "the states of mind and intentions" of alleged to have been involved. Due to enormous pressure, I buckled and took this sentence, not because I'm guilty as charged, but in order to save my familia from receiving life sentences as well.

Regardless, I'm in this system. "I have lived within the Monster, and I know it from within." (Jose Marti) All of my life I've soaked up bits and pieces of revolutionary consciousness, always drawn like the proverbial moths to a flame to the defiant, the warriors and martyrs. Those brave and solid enough to see the bigger picture, and to lead and sacrifice for the people. But somehow my adolescent desires and undefined morals and standards led me to mis-invest this warriors spirit into gang banging. I can see from my present point of view, that I was not extraordinary in my misdirected efforts.

However, I have always strived for something bigger and better. Something beneficial to the people, La Raza, instead of solely destructive and degenerate. But I lacked the education, I lacked the consistent guidance and discipline, and I, like most of the huddled masses from the Barrio and otherwise, had to focus on survival. But now, for the last 5 years, "due to [my] case factors" and the resulting label put upon me as a "Northern Hispanic, " by the State, have had some time on my hands to focus, to explore, and develop ideas and ideals.

More than enough time, as I'd spent 3 years in the county in single occupancy cells, a year and a half on Solano's level three facility I on lockdown and I've spent over six months now in Administrative Segregation (the hole), where I'm facing a "gang validation." As is well known, the State applies social Judo tactics, so to speak, in order to keep the masses off balance and misdirected. In these divide and conquer scenarios social organizations and movements for resisting oppression and exploitation, and in furtherance of equality, empowerment, and dignity, find their focus degenerated and misdirected towards other members of their own backgrounds.

This is nothing new, and we still don't make it difficult for them to do. These tactics have literally been perfected to a science: within the confines of the CDCR. The technical aspects of these tactics are ever evolving, seemingly made up as they go, as well as laid out in a long winded maze of words (which seem really to only be there for show or manipulation) in the California code of Regulations Title 15 and the Department Operations Manual.

For example: "Gang means any ongoing formal or informal organization, association or group of (3) or more persons which has a common name or identifying sign or symbol whose members and or associates individually or collectively engage or have engaged, on behalf of that organization, or group, in (2) or more acts which include, planning, organizing threatening, financing, soliciting, or committing unlawful acts or acts of misconduct classified as serious pursuant to section 3315."

"Disruptive Group means any gang other than a prison gang." (of which there are (10) different general labels, (3) of which are relative to Latinos in particular.)

"Prison Gang means any gang which originated and has its roots within the department or any other prison system" (3 out of 5 labels are specifically Raza). "Member is an inmate/parolee who has been accepted into membership by a gang. This identification requires at least (3) independent source items of documentation indicative of actual membership. Validation of an inmate/parolee as a member of a prison gang whall require that at least (1) source item be a direct link to a current or former Validated member or associate of the gang…Associate is an inmate/parolee who is involved periodically or regularly with members or associates of a gang…"

"A dropout is an inmate/parolee who was either a gang member or associate and has discontinued gang affiliation. This identification requires that the inmate/parolee successfully complete the debriefing process."

"2. Except as provided at section 3335(a), section 3378(d) and subsection (c )(5), a validated prison gang member or associate is deemed to be a severe threat to the safety of others or the security of the institution and will be placed in a SHU for an indeterminate term."

"4. A validated prison gang member or associate shall be considered for release from a SHU, as provided above, after the inmate is verified as a gang dropout through a debriefing process."

"5. As provided at section 3378(3), the Departmental Review Board (DRB) may authorize SHU release for prison gang members or associates categorized as inactive. The term inactive means that the inmate has not been involved in gang activity for a minimum of (6) years. Inmates categorized as inactive who are suitable for SHU release shall be transferred to the general population of a level IV facility for a period of observation that shall be no greater than 12 months. Upon completion of the period of observation, the inmate shall be housed in a facility commensurate with his or her safety needs. In the absence of safety needs, the inmate shall be housed in a facility consistent with his or her classification score…."

"6. As provided at section 3378(f) an inmate categorized as inactive or validated as a dropout of a prison gang and placed in the general population may be returned to segregation based upon one reliable source item identifying the inmate as a currently active gang member or associate of the prison gang with which the inmate was previous validated…"

I myself, despite my objections, was labeled a "Northern Hispanic" by this system. In fact, probably a quarter of the prisoners labeled as such were and are not gang members of any kind, but are forced by the system into accepting this generic label, which in turn makes you an automatic target by other certain group segments. Perhaps most potentially detrimental is the system's obsession with validating each and every prisoner they label a (N/H/) as a prison gang member/associate in order to bury them alive in the confines of the SHUs.

Those prisoners labeled NHs are routinely placed on prolonged lockdowns, having constantly to defend themselves and to fight for basic safety and continually push for equality, as well as, and perhaps more harmful, the chronic violations and abuse of our rights and mental and physical well being, from the State, who, in their zeal to justify their actions, do so by habitually breaking the laws they pretend to uphold.

There are many clear and obvious discrepancies in treatment, as well as in application of the laws and regulations used to govern the CDCR. For instance, while NHs were on lockdown, they were denied visits, adequate and timely medical care, there were incidents of NHs being physically abused. The NHs often only came out of their cells 3 days out of the week for 5 minute showers, only to be yelled at and degraded throughout, and this, even during heat waves and times where there was no air circulation in the oven like cells due to air circulation system breaking down. The NHs were denied access to phone use, access to the law library, I can go on and on.

I myself ended up on Ad. Seg a few weeks before the NHs were let off of lockdown. On the day I was brought here, about 3 or 4 in the morning, the door to the cell my old celly and I occupied was opened, I was sprayed 3 times in the face with a chemical significantly more powerful than pepper spray, handcuffed, and here I am now, facing a ridiculous "gang validation" on trumped up charges.

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[Organizing] [Control Units] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Locked in SHU after release date, still fighting

I'm confined in Corcoran state prison SHU program. I have been in the SHU for years. I personally don't consider myself a con, I like thinking of myself as a prisoner of war. I suggest to our brothers and sisters in this Amerikkka war against our races to take a stand in prison. Use your free time to study and use U.$. law against them and also on department of corruption and repression (CDC&R). My SHU term was up 12-1-05, but I'm still here pending transfer. Yes, it's a lot of us still here on that note. I won a few 602s, but most get lost by staff members.

I need help and candidates on the streets to carry our fights for us in prisons unmask this corruption system. Enclosed is a 602 I won, and the reason I'm not transferred yet. CDCR gives us 602 forms, but if you use them and win, you will pay your price, allright!

Someone once said I'd rather die standing than die on my knees. In simple English words, that means I will not be a coward. Refuse to work, clean up messes by Corrections Officers (C/Os), don't make deals or business with C/Os. They are not your friends! When a C/O or any official writes you up, what do you consider that? It's called ratting/snitching. All against what we believe in. So why do cons make deals with them? Refuse to program and protect your rights. Do not be a slave to CDCR.

Currently all my books and study notes were taken from me due to my beliefs - I'm called by staff "Little Castro."

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[Abuse] [Racism] [Calipatria State Prison] [California]
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Welcome back to Calipatria under siege

In May 2006 inmates of all racial classifications were lulled into a false sense of security as the totalitarians blanket approach to punishment was lifted only to be used again disproportionately against one aspect of the inmate population. It is our belief that the blanket approach was to disguise this administrations racist tactics in their dealings with inmates. Now that it is applied to only one segment of the inmate population it is all the more clear. As is stated in my first "Calipatria under siege" report, the "Hispanic" inmate population of Calipatria suffer disproportionate punishment as opposed to the several other racial designations [MIM ed: we will use Latino instead of Hispanic, but in California prisons this is almost entirely interchangeable with Mexican]. Now with living evidence I submit this second "communiqué" from the front line that is Calipatria State Prison.

As stated in May 2006, the blanket of torture was lifted and tensions eased only to be complicated once again by a "skirmish" between "southern Hispanics" [MIM ed - prison label] and correctional staff, and though the blanket was not unfurled for a great length of time we believe out of sheer oversight and not from a merciful standpoint. The blanket of torture was lifted in exchange for a blanket of psychological warfare with reminders of the totalitarians power to inflict wounds both physical as well as mental as is mentioned in the latest skirmish and the subsequent disappearances of "southern Hispanics."

A return to "normal" program was beginning from total lockdown that began in July of 2005 where we were denied everything from yard exercise to canteen to adequate hygiene products to legal relief. Most services were said to be slowly re-implemented to the inmate population using a screening process where inmates were returned to a program status in accordance with prison behavior, the most programs/privileges to inmates who have the most appealing prison history and the least programs privileges with the least appealing history. This "screening" is a farce! It only applies to the Latino inmate population. Other inmates were afforded all programs and privileges immediately while the Latino population were/are subjected to this screening, where only approximately 5 Latinos from each of this sub-facilities' four general population buildings were afforded all programs and privileges on a weekly basis (approx 20 each week). The remainder were/are merely afforded canteen and package program access. No yard exercise, no vocation education, no work programs, etc., a continued punishment merely for being Latino. It's obvious this screening of those most willing to program has no bearing on the administrations decision of who to "release" or "gradually unlock" to full programs/privileges as all Latino inmates have and show their willingness to program in accordance to prison procedures.

This administration utilizes methods to deal with or remove the so-called "un-desirables" with several steps in the disciplinary procedures. For example, placement in the "hole" for those who seriously disrupt the programs or "C" status - a confined to quarters type punishment for those who refuse to work (to name a couple). My point is, that aside from the above mentioned individuals undergoing disciplinary procedures, the remainder of the 99.9% of Latino inmates have not committed a disciplinary infraction to warrant this ongoing punishment. Those who have committed a disciplinary infraction that are not removed to the hole or placed on "C" status have not committed an infraction of a serious enough nature to warrant this ongoing punishment.

Furthermore in September the blanket was unfurled once again when the entire prison population was placed on lockdown due to weapons being found and unfounded "intelligence" which allegedly stated the weapons were to be used to assault staff. In the beginning the entire institution was placed on lockdown with all programs suspended and searches of the entire institution conducted. The administration's racist policies surfaced in a statement by administration posted on the institution information channel for the inmate population to read, where it stated "certain segments of the inmate population continue to disrupt the program of all the segments."

At first reading nothing is amiss, until all the racial segments of this institution were released from lockdown and afforded all program/privileges. That is, except the Latino population! Now this statement by administration takes on new life. Now, "certain segments" means Latinos, where blame for the weapons and so-called "intelligence" is placed squarely on the Latino population. The weapons in question were not found on any one person, but in a common area accessible to all. Yet alleged "intelligence" was used to attribute the weapons to Latinos. It should be noted the intelligence used by administration is not refutable nor is there given any proof of its authenticity as it is "confidential." The Latinos thereby have no legal recourse to challenge said "intelligence" as fabricated, false or even to prove it's actual existence. Again, disproportionate decision followed with punishment based on blatant racial attribution of weapons said to belong to Latinos, based as stated on unfounded and unchallengeable "intelligence."

As of this writing, December 2006, the Latinos are again under the "screening" process prior to unlock of lockdown and access to all programs/privileges. And again in a manner disproportionate to the other races who were not subjected to the screening. As stated the entire Latino population, merely by being housed in this prison in the general population, is proof positive of each inmates individual as well as collective willingness, desire and goal to program in accordance to prison procedures, like that of other racial segments. (Calipatria is a 270 design prison - meaning less restrictive level 4 for level 4 inmates who have and are positively programming). Like that of the other racial segments, some individuals or groups have been alleged to have committed disciplinary infractions serious enough to disrupt programs where the said are removed from general population to the hole while the remainder suffer the residual effects of those infractions with lockdowns. Yet as stated above, the Latino population suffers punishment disproportionately.

One only has to view our objective conditions to see the racial overtones where Latinos as a whole are viewed as the undesirable elements of the prison population. But not undesirable for any disciplinary infractions committed as a whole but for merely being Latino. Where disciplinary infractions are committed by other racial segments of the inmate population are viewed as "isolated incidents," Latino disciplinary infractions are viewed as an alleged collective conspiracy and any and all weapons found are attributed to Latinos, allegedly corroborated by unchallengeable 'intelligence" notorious Calipatria State Prison.

The intensity of the psychological war has gained momentum and although raids, property seizures and disappearances have lessened, they continue none the less. And although by all outward appearances Calipatria is in compliance with inmates' rights, those of the Latino prisoners are denied, suspended or lessened and suffer the whims of a totalitarian administrative body. And although it's no longer 120 degrees outside, it is still cold in the shadow of the Green wall and the Latinos are still under siege.

MIM adds: This tactic of dividing the prisons along national lines is one of many used by the prison administration to keep prisoners fighting each other rather than uniting against a common enemy. Even the appearance of preferential treatment for one nationality over another can contribute to this division. Rather than focus on this inequality, MIM calls on prisoners of all nationalities to unite in fighting the unjust policies of the administration. The real enemy is the criminal injustice system, and unity behind bars will greatly advance our struggle against this enemy.

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[Prison Labor] [Economics] [California]
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"News and Letters" misses the boat on labor aristocracy

Greetings and respects to all. Thanks you guys for the free newsletter you sent me. I found it to be very interesting and insightful. However I couldn't help but to notice the enormous amount of support you guys give to the various labor unions here in the United States. And also in other First World nations. Do you guys not consider these labor unions part of the 'Labor Aristocracy?" To be a bit more specific on this term, please allow me to directly quote from our comrades Theory Journal #1 "White Proletariat?" By the way, when I say "our comrades" I'm speaking about the Maoist Internationalist Movement. Anyhow, "The labor aristocracy comprises the elite workers in the world who the capitalist class have bribed with profits obtained from other workers. Lenin said that imperialism gives the bourgeoisie enough super-profits to 'devote a part (and not a small one at that!) to bribe their own workers, to create something like an alliance…between the workers of a given nation and capitalists.." "There is the tendency of the bourgeoisie and the opportunists to convert a handful of very rich and privileged nations into 'eternal' parasites on the body of mankind to 'rest on the laurels' of the exploitation of negros, first world nations, etc., keeping them in subjection with the aid of the excellent weapons of extermination provided by modern militarism." "Lenin believed there was a growing labor aristocracy which owed its position to the workers exploited and super-exploited abroad."

A perfect example of one such union that's filled with these parasites is the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA). This particular "labor union" through the exploitation of minorities in this state has quickly risen to become one of California's largest and most powerful unions around. Through the bribing of government officials they've been able to consolidate power at the very highest levels. That unfortunately has cost us minorities very dearly. Because now they are able to pass even more stringent laws aimed at us. Thus keeping their "cash cow" well fed. And us and our communities oppressed.

Another union that comes to mind is the AFL-CIO. This particular union has a very unsavory past, to say the very least. From Guatemala to Chile, they have helped to oppress our brothers and sisters. Or did they not play a very significant role in bringing down the "Allende Government in Chile!?! Or did they not provide assistance to the United Fruit company in Guatemala when they were trying to smash the indigenous led union!?! Their foreign policy speaks for itself. Of course I could go on and on about these labor unions. But I'll go ahead and stop here. I hope to get some feedback from you guys on this topic. Once again, thanks for the newsletter.

MIM responds: This comrade's analysis of "News and Letters" position on unions is right on. The only point we disagree with is where s/he writes that the CCPOA "through the exploitation of minorities in this state, has quickly risen to become one of California's largest and most powerful unions around." Presumably the minorities in this state referenced are prisoners. The current economics of prisons don't (yet) support this statement. Prisons in California don't yet make a profit off of prisoners; they are still greatly subsidized by the state. And so it is not the CCPOA doing the exploiting, though the use of them as an example remains correct as they are definitely benefiting from exploitation of Third World peoples as those superprofits are brought home and the state of California uses them to build more prisons and pay high wages to CCPOA workers.

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[Censorship] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Censorship of outgoing mail at Pelican Bay

This initiative is being brought forth under the social principles of communal cooperative work. The focus point of this initiative is to combat an arbitrary policy that the Pelican Bay State Prison administrators have initiated, which essentially violates the constitutional 1st amendment right to the freedom of speech/expression, as warranted to the captive class of prisoners that is being held in the SHU (Security Housing Unit). On November 13, 2006, the Associate Warden Ms. C.M. Scavetta authorized a memorandum which mandates that: "all prisoners housed in the SHU shall have their outgoing mail stamped in big red letters (Pelican Bay SHU - Unit D3) on the outside of the envelope, as well as on every single page of the enclosed correspondence, or on the noted contents therein…such as; "drawings, cards, political writings being sent out for publication purposes etc…"

We prisoners firmly oppose this new arbitrary policy, in that it vandalizes, defaces, and undermines the essence of our 1st amendment right to the freedom of speech/expression. Furthermore, this practice is semblance to how the Nazi Germans branded (stamped) the Jews that were being held captive in their Nuremburg concentration slave kamps for purposes of social control and eventual extermination! So in the true spirit of communal cooperative work, we prisoners are requesting the community's support in the form of launching a "phone call/letter writing campaign" in opposition to this arbitrary policy/practice.

For those of you who may be entertaining thoughts of doubt as to why you should get involved in this initiative, my people you should try to understand that we prisoners are an extension of every poor and oppressed community out in Babylon. Meaning that we prisoners remain an integral part of the community that we were removed from, but also our families, friends, and loved ones are also affected by this repressive practice via the mail that we send to them as well. What if your loved one or family member had a very important message to get out to you, but when you received his letter, you were unable to read it on account of it being stamped (vandalized) in very big red letters?

It is a historical truth that repression breeds resistance, so let our call of resistance be echoed in the form of placing phone calls and writing letters to the warden and associate warden of this prison in the expressed form of opposition and to the illegality of this practice. It will also help if you would notify your local politicians and legislatures about this to encourage them to investigate this matter, and to send letters as well. Send your letters to the following address:

Pelican Bay State Prison
c/o Robert Horel, Warden
5905 Lake Earl Dr.
Crescent City, CA 95531

Or:
c/o Associate Warden C.M. Scavetta
same address as above
707-465-1000

MIM adds: in our short experience with this policy we can collaborate this prisoner's statement that the stamps on every page of every letter make SHU prisoner's mail very hard to read. Further, stamping artwork essentially ruins the art. This policy serves no purpose other than harassment of prisoner's and their correspondents.

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[Organizing] [Political Repression] [California]
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Peace between prisoners discouraged in California

In response to an article in the October Under Lock and Key about prisoner's attempting to organize a peace summit at Pelican Bay prison in California, one prisoner wrote:

I have yet to hear of any of this, however, I did hear about the 2001 attempted peace treaty. Which of course was purposely sabotaged by CDC. The very last thing these bastards (CDC) wants is peace amongst the races here in prison. It is not in the material interest of the white middle class who work for CDC to have this violence come to an end. Any time an institution goes on lock down, prison officials automatically get what's called "Hazard Pay" which doubles their pay. So for every violent incident they (CDC) can provoke, they stand to profit from it.

And it's not only the CDC that stands to profit. Other outside organizations are also profiting from what the CDC has created. Organizations such as the Sheriffs department and other police agencies. Which of course are staffed with middle class white amerikans. Every time an incident from in here spills out into our occupied communities, it is these organizations that come in and lock up everyone in sight, not to mention harass, beat and even murder us.

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[Control Units] [Organizing] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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History of the Peace Summit initiative at Pelican Bay

Concerning the Pelican Bay State Prison Peace Summit initiative, I'm all too familiar with the initiative and the brothas that are seeking grassroots community support. Back in the year 2000, we the progressive class of Black prisoners had initiated efforts through these prison bureaucrats, in order to initiate some peace/resolve to the social conflict that had materialized out in general population, i.e. "race war." But as to be expected, these prison bureaucrats launched an aggressive "armed propaganda" campaign, in order to sabotage and disrupt our efforts. Because, as you know, it is these pigs nature to exist in a quagmire of diabolical, corrupt, and violent practices. So the armed propaganda campaign consisted of spreading a rumor to the head officials in Sacramento (CDC department heads) who had sanctioned the "peace talks" initially, that we prisoners that were directly involved with these "peace talks" were manipulating this opportunity to organize and conspire in criminal and violent activities, which is completely false and unfounded!

But by the time that we got around to challenging this nonsense, our efforts had proven to be futile, as we did not have any grassroots community support, which remains to be a critical component that needs to be addressed in light of our material existence, in being held in the restricted bondage and isolated confines of the SHU (Security Housing Unit). Besides, these fascist pigs in here also had a vested economic interest in seeing that the cycle of violence remained a material factor, as it continues to be perpetuated out in general population (mainline) in the form of a "race war" (southern Mexicans and white supremacist Europeans vs. the class of New Afrikan Black prisoners), in that, if our collective goal towards peace had been materialized into a reality, then the fascist pigs would no longer been able to prey on the fears of the public, under the premise of violence being a out of control issue, and the justification for the continued existence of these super-maximum slave kamps would have also been negated!!

This is why it is ever so critical that we mobilize ourselves now, in order to obtain some real grassroots community support so that we may effectively combat this social dilemma and bring some peace and resolve, to not just these mainliners, but also in the communities of southern California, to where these acts of senseless violence has spilled over. Meaning, that individuals of these racial nationalities who have no knowledgeable insight of this social conflict (race war) is being arbitrarily subjected to the capricious whims of violence, i.e. "innocent victims." So the onus is on us to restore order on these mainlines and in the communities of Southern California, as these fascist pigs (U.$. government ) has never had our best interest at heard, in particular, as it relates to poor people of color.

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[Organizing] [Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Support the Pelican Bay State Prison Peace Talk

MISSION STATEMENT

In 1989, the CA Department of Corrections (DOC) opened Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP). Their primary stated reason for its construction was to reduce prison violence by segregating alleged gang leaders and members. But contrary to their stated purpose, prison violence has increased rapidly and dramatically. The CA prison system is more violent now than it was before the opening of PBSP. In fact, it's the most dangerous and deadly prison system in the country, as the statistics will clearly attest.

In Feb. 2001, CA witnessed one of its most violent race riots here at PBSP, where approximately 38 New Afrikan (Black) prisoners were stabbed. A message was delivered to me the next day from a group of brothers who had been involved in the riot, requesting my assistance with resolving this racial conflict/war. I am being housed in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) here at PBSP (solitary confinement), so I am in a position to talk to certain influential Mexican and white prisoners.

That night, I wrote to Warden Ayers, explaining to him that I would like to initiate peace talks designed to resolve this conflict. The following morning, I was escorted to the warden's office. He was interested in my proposal. While I was there, he asked what he could do to facilitate this peace process. I told him I needed to speak with a number of prisoners, and he told his staff to accommodate my endeavors. I was able to bring all relevant parties to the table, a peace plan was adopted and a cease fire was implemented.

We knew there were a number of associate wardens here at PBSP, as well as Institutional Gang Investigation (IGI) unit administration in Sacramento, along with the CA Corrections Peace Officers Association (CCPOA, prison guards union) who did not want this truce to take place or to take hold. True to form, they sabotaged our peace talks with lies and negative propaganda. Because we failed to mobilize an outside, grassroots support base, we were not able to challenge the lies and distortions that were being told.

The DOC told the politicians and the media that they didn't need us to resolve this conflict. They know that's untrue, that we are the only ones who can resolve it. When I say "we," I mean those New Afrikan, Mexican, and white prisoners presently housed here in the SHU at PBSP in the D-Facility, units 1, 2, 3 and 4. Many of us are between 40-65 years of age and have been in solitary confinement from 20 to 40 years. I personally have been in isolation for 24 years. We are the only ones who possess the respect and influence to end this conflict.

We could have resolved this racial conflict five years ago, but the CDC didn't want us to achieve that goal. As a direct result, the conflict has spun out of control. Since 2001, there have been at least 500 race-based riots behind the walls, and approximately as many individual stabbing incidents related to this conflict. Over 200 race riots took place in 2005 alone. Even worse, since 2001, the conflict has spilled out into the community outside the walls, especially in southern California, and now the community is caught up in the conflict. Of course the CDC will not take responsibility for the escalation of this conflict, but the fact remains that it was the CDC that sabotaged our efforts to end it, and now it has enveloped the whole state of California.

We can no longer afford to expect the CDC or government to end this conflict, or allow them to prevent us from ending it. The escalation of this conflict is a further example of the CDC's criminal negligence. As a class of veteran convicts, we are reaching out to the outside community for your assistance in resolving this conflict. With your help, we can put an end to this war.

We have developed a plan that would consist of a joint effort, but an effort led by us. What we need from you is to force the CDC to allow us to initiate discussion on a peace resolution. At present we are not allowed to get together and dialogue on a truce. We are presently looking for outside volunteers to serve as facilitators and coordinators. The facilitators will assist those directly involved in the process, since being in isolation limits what we can do. This is why it's very important for us to have outside assistance. The coordinators are grassroots organizers that will be responsible for mobilizing a community effort in support of our peace summit. If your are interested in being a facilitator you can contact me at:

Abdul Olugbala Shakur s/n J. Harvey
D-4-112/ C-48884 (SHU)
PO Box 7500
Crescent City, CA 95532
Pelican Bay State Prison

We also have a petition that we are presently distributing in support of our peace summit. Download the Pelican Bay State Prison Peace Talk Petition.

MIM replies: This mission statement underscores what MIM has long reported - the California Department of Corrections is behind the prisoner-on-prisoner violence and conflicts between nations in the prisons. They set up these divisions and they sabotage efforts by prisoners to achieve a peaceful resolution. The CDC's interest in promoting gang warfare behind bars is clear - keeping the prisoners divided and fighting one another prevents them from coming together to fight the injustice system. And these fights give the CDC justification for all kinds of repression and lockdowns. In fact they justify the existence of the Security Housing Units (SHU) themselves, which claim to house the "validated" gang members.

This is the same thing going on on the streets - the U.$. government has played a role in funneling guns and drugs to the streets to help fuel the creation of organizations fighting each other in oppressed communities. These organizations need to turn themselves to genuine self-defense in the interests of their nation, against their true enemy who perpetuates the system of national oppression in Amerika: the imperialist U.$. government. The organizers at Pelican Bay are setting a good example for people behind bars and on the streets, and we will work with them to take the struggle to the next level, beyond peace and onto the united struggle for justice.

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