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.

[Work Strike] [Abuse] [Organizing] [Campaigns] [California State Prison, Sacramento] [California] [ULK Issue 55]
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Labor Strike Against Daily Body Searches

Today we Raza and Natives/others kicked off the new year by exercising unity here in C Yard by not going to work or education at work center (head quarters) of this yard. Other factions decided not to participate because they care too much about the 5-10ยข paying job they currently have (Lumpen Aristocracy?).

This campaign we currently put into motion is to stop the form of harassment these pigs use thru daily body searches, i.e. x-ray body scan, strip search, etc. before we go to school/work and before we leave. We know that we can stop at least the x-ray scan from taking place for we will continue to refuse the x-ray scan and therefore work/education. This is the recent flow here.

Persynally I believe that we should shut down all movement but still go to Yard, programs and accept our food. Just make the pigs do all the work. That is the only way to make these pigs fly. Even then, these forms of campaigns are at a beginner step and might not be fully successful. We should still engage and get a feel of the opposition. The only way we know how to deal with an opposition is thru the motion of our resistance. It is then that we'll know what we're up against and to what extent they'll go. Not only this but we learn on how to combat the beast. New views and forms of tactics come from this. It is what we call the dialectical-materialist theory of the unity of knowing and doing.

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[United Front] [Education] [Organizing] [Black Panther Party] [California Correctional Institution] [California] [ULK Issue 55]
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CCI Study Group Puts Theory Into Action, Organizing Unity Celebration

I'm once again checking in from California Correctional Institution (CCI). In 1966, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale planted the seeds of the Black Liberation movement in Oakland. The seeds they planted rapidly spread to the rest of the United States and now years later we're fighting for the same things as the Panthers.

We still follow the same theme of Black nationalism, armed militancy, intercommunalism, and answering the call to join the revolutionary struggle. Even today, I can still see and hear the voices of comrades such as Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis, Gwen Fontaine, Fredrika Newton and Lil Bobby Hutton; their teachings, thoughts, practices. And they still resonate with significance and power through the pages of books.

The spirit of the Panthers have been spread so deep into the roots of Black life and into the fabric of every African Community in America, that it's just natural for us to want to stand up and fight when we hear the call. In our homes, schools, hoods, jails, and prisons. That's the revolutionary legacy, and the spirit these comrades planted in us.

This yard we're on is considered an Ad-Seg kick out yard. But in our efforts to educate the people we've begun to create something better. This yard is becoming a place where cadres are born. We have created programmes that serve the people: we have political study groups, we have a GED study group, in which we are helping comrades get their GEDs, and we are helping individuals with their college classes as well.

I am very proud of the comrades on this facility of all nationalities. Because we're not just talking we're doing, pushing hard for a truly united front and serving the people. We have just submitted the paperwork for a banquet. That will be used as a Unity Celebration, where we will all meet and share our thoughts on the issues of today, and share a little political knowledge with each other.

The only issue I see is that the room only holds fifty people, so not all of the groups can fit in this room, so we're planning to have another on the yard the next day. We don't want anyone left out. We are here to serve the people, educate the people, and to help liberate the people, all the people. My rules are if we focus on what we have in common and less on our differences we'll be able to learn better, who we are, and what we're about.

We all want the same things. We all have the same goals, and we all want to create positive change in our world, and in our communities. A community by way of definitions is a comprehensive collection of institutions that serve the people who live there. CCI C-Facility is where we are living right now. So this is the community we're serving.

It is the duty of all revolutionaries to make the revolution. This is obviously rule one. But this is a way of denouncing, in the context, all the so-called revolutionaries who not only did not seek to make the revolution, who managed secure income, talk the revolutionary shit, but who torpedoed the efforts of the people to liberate themselves and that must not be. As Huey said, revolutionary theory without practice ain't shit.

Power to the People
a servant.
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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Chuckawalla Valley State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 54]
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Censor Victory in Chuckawalla Brings Pride

I start this letter sending out all my respects to all involved in educating and enlightening those persons such as myself.

These past couple of weeks have been a little hectic. Here at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, we have had difficulties with the administration censoring our mail.

I am most grateful for the letter of support your people wrote to Warden Seibel. It gave me support as to what direction to push my 22 form [Inmate/Parolee Request for Interview, Item, or Service].

With that I am proud to say that they called me back within 24 hours, saying I "will no longer have any problems receiving [my] mail" :)

Finally, yesterday my name was called to pick up Sept/Oct. 2016, No. 52 issue. Honestly I was shocked, empowered to know the feeling of winning these people is such a childish move on their behalf. I sat in the dayroom reading the publication with honor and pride.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This victory came through comrades coming together and filing appeals and paperwork on the inside and the outside. This comrade should be proud for standing up for eir First Amendment rights and following through on the bureaucratic process that is often there to wear you down.

However, this is not the first time Warden Siebel has assured us that the censorship issue has been addressed. So we must remain always vigilant. Our rights only exist to the extent that we struggle for them. And Amerikans will continue to oppress others as long as imperialism remains in place.

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[Control Units] [Hunger Strike] [Political Repression] [Santa Rosa Main Adult Detention Facility] [California]
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Hunger Strike Against Long-Term Isolation in Santa Rosa Jail

I have been in solitary confinement for 245 days, unlawfully, without hearings held in harsh conditions. I filed a class action lawsuit on these issues and the barbaric tactics COs use to break us down physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. A hunger strike also commenced on 26 October 2016 and lasted until approximately 5 November 2016. About 10 prisoners started in the strike. Our demands had to do with re-housing us in less restrictive units and loosening restrictions on us in Ad-Seg. Also, we were pushing for fair hearings and changes to their oppressive policies.

We stand to invoke positive social change through peace and non-violence. During the strike we were all separated. I, personally, was thrown into a cold, dark cell deprived of all my property, my underwear, socks, shoes and bedding for days, in a pee and feces infested room and not allowed cleaning materials. The strike didn't stop at that point. We continued to strike through all of these injustices and in the end we did see some change, even if only minor. We were allowed 23 hours up instead of 23 1/2.

I am still harassed and targeted to this day. I've been written up for nothing. My mail's been restricted, legal mail comes opened, they're blocking my access to courts, unlawfully search and take belongings out of my cell, the list can go on. So you can see, we've been active in our struggle. I look to gain in knowledge and share with others to more effectively organize. Allow me to close here with a revolutionary warrior's strength and respect.

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[Control Units] [Martinez Detention Facility - Contra Costa County Jail] [California]
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Control Unit Survey on Martinez 2

Only D-module and Q-module have Ad-Seg. 53 prisoners in D, don't know how many in Q. Jail was opened in early 1980s and they are currently looking to build a new jail or to expand existing jails in Contra Costa County as state shifts prisoners to county jails.

You can be put in the hole for any reason for an indeterminate time. They don't tell you the reason for housing change or the time you will spend there. I have been in a control unit since I arrived in May 2008, over 8 years. There is no contact with prisoners outside of your module.


For D-Module, Section C there are:
3 Blacks
2 Whites
1 Mexican
1 Puerto Rican
1 Fijian
1 empty cell
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[Abuse] [California Correctional Institution] [California]
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Surveillance Cameras Needed to Combat Jim Crow Corruption

Fear here is so thick it can be cut with a knife. Many prisoners at California Correctional Institution (CCI) are afraid of the correctional staff members and other levels of prison personnel. This is largely due to no cameras anywhere on Charley Yard, not outside nor inside. There are many members of the so called "Green Wall", who are notoriously known for brutality against prisoners especially those of the oppressed nations. Making Charley Yard a blackhole of sorts, I am a fairly new arrival with about 120 days.

So many prisoners have told me stories of horrific treatment waged against prisoners, most of them have been stuck here for multiple years and are eye witnesses to violent oppression and the continuation of dehumanizing activities. Some of them as victims themselves, being beaten with metal clubs that resemble the weapon used by Daredevil, one of the heroes in the Marvel Universe, and sprayed with mace until soaked by the emptying of multiple cans. Then handcuffed and dragged off to cages the size of phone booths, where every available correction officer corroborate and coerce a single false narrative which in many cases end up in false charges of anything from staff assault to weapon stock.

The victimized prisoner is sent to Ad-Seg while the false charges are then investigated by none other than the abusers' co-workers who find that the charges are substantiated, in which case the prisoner sits back there in Ad-Seg unit until they heal at which time they are placed back on the same yard with their abusers. Though many times these false accusations go to the prosecutors office and are more times than not dismissed due to the accusers history being so scared with contempt, brutality, domestic violence, road rage and false reports in the past.

Sadly all these acts happen with zero technical evidence due to the lack of cameras, which would hold the wrong-doers responsible for their actions. Whether they are Corrections Officers, free staff member personnel or prisoners, there will be physical evidence against the law breakers creating a much more productive environment, one of mutual respect.

Ya'll know I keep it 100%, so I have to say since I've been here I haven't witnessed any brutality done by guard nor inmate. What I have witnessed is Correctional Officers ordering a Black prisoner to strip naked outside on the yard in the dirt. The irony is that the guard who gave the dehumanizing order was also Black, though surround by his non-Black colleagues. Another thing I've noticed is the level of communication is negatively charged at prisoners with verbal threats and disrespect being the norm. I believe surveillance camera would put an end to Jim Crow Corruption on Charley Yard and this would be great for both sides of the equation.

Fear so thick it can be cut with a knife.....
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[Download and Print] [Organizing] [Civil Liberties] [Religious Repression] [Abuse] [Censorship] [Political Repression] [Campaigns] [California]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, California

California Grievance Petition
Click to Download PDF Of California Petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with the grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC)
2590 Venture Oaks Way Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95833

Prison Law Office
General Delivery
San Quentin, CA 94964

Internal Affairs CDCR
10111 Old Placerville Rd, Ste 200
Sacramento, CA 95872

CDCR Office of Ombudsman
1515 S Street, Room 311 S
Sacramento, CA 95811

U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, PHB
Washington DC 20530

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
PO Box 9778
Arlington, VA 22219

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

*Petition updated September 2011, July 2012, and October 2013, February 2016, November 2016*

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[Education] [California Correctional Institution] [California]
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Level Three Marginalization

After spending the last seven years on level four yards, which should have never occurred being that I came to prison with 45 points in the first place, which is level three in custody points for the readers that have no knowledge of California's penal point system or its levels of custody.

At last I find myself on a level three yard here at Tehachapi, which instead of having more programs, more jobs, more vocational training, more freedoms, more technology, more respect, more education, more opportunity, more yard activities, more PIA [work opportunities], and more counseling. This Charley Yard at Tehachapi A.K.A. California Correctional Institution has less programs than even the level four, One Eighty yard at Kern Valley State Prison. This yard of close to one thousand prisoners isn't equipped with enough of any of the above mentioned to ensure service to not even half this prison yard population. Programs like SRT, Hands of Peace, KAIRD's, Bakerfield Community College simply aren't here and the correctional staff body suggest a culture of laziness when it comes to being progressive about creating the opportunities that would make this yard a true level three or at least resemble such conditions.

Even the cells were much larger at KVSP's D-yard which is a 180 level 4, have twice the room as this supposed level 3 cell which after being small for two prisoners, it is also ill equipped having only one cable and two electrical outlets. One has to buy additional items just to be able to share the single cable outlet plus extension cords to use the electricity source on more than one device at a time. For example we use a splitter so we can both watch our own TV's, which by the way is the only way a prisoner can get reception because in this prison there is no air signals even in this digital age. With that being true we only get 13 channels and they go out all of the time or the quality is very poor, meaning white noise, unstable picture, and even half screen shots with no vocals not to mention no world news or educational channels such as KPBS, KCEPT or even BBC. The movie channel and college course channels have more snow and white noise to overcome than the student can tolerate, but is expected to succeed with at least a C average.

Currently I am A1A unassigned, arriving 18 August 2016 to Tehachapi and being classified 21 August 2016 by then acting CC2 Hernandez who denied having knowledge of my GED and failure to look into this matter before representing me to classification which has marginalized me this entire time from gaining employment, enrollment into education program such as Coastline College and much more. Just to find out my records were received here at Tehachapi's Charley Yard on 16 August 2016, making it even more obvious the culture of the staff and there intentions towards me, a general prisoner, and their job as a whole. They aren't the involved Correctional staff I've been around on those level 4's, that work with prisoners who show they want to program, want to change, want to rehabilitate. No the staff members here only want to pass the buck, sit around in offices for eight hours and clock out unless they get involved in some sort of brutality, mental intimidation or power high at the expense of a prisoner.

This is no level three prison environment for the reasons aforementioned. Prisoners are of the nonviolent sort, with no stabbings, no gang activities, no racial politics and no real provocateurs. What they truly need is level 3 opportunities. This has to become the focus of change, saying all I can with no cameras on this Charley Yard. Knowing who's word carries more weight, though we know well my word is my bond.

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[Special Needs Yard] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Changing Terrain in Corcoran as Populations are Transferred

The PO Box 3476 is the only SHU yard and Ad-Seg yard address now at CSP-Corcoran. The 4B yard is closed, and was supposed to open up as a GP mainline, but hasn't happened yet. All these buildings over here in 4A run a different program. My block is Ad-Seg, 4R is Ad-Seg with prisoners from SATF Corcoran. 3R and 3L are the debriefing buildings for the whole state of California, 2R and 2L are SHU blocks, and 1R and 1L are SHU blocks for people on medication.

...To answer your question on the SNY situation, yes and no. Most older folks are going for various different reasons. Some are giving up on the struggle, some have grudges with their comrades, and some youngsters are chasing drugs and don't want to be revolutionaries or political, and are allowing the oppressor to stir strife. Yes! it's mostly people coming out of the SHU and seeing a culture shock that is real sad and in poor condition. Then there's the changing of the guard, and the youngster's don't want to change, and neither do the older folks that have been out there all this time. Opportunities can still be created on both sides of the razor wire, be it GP or SNY. Because it's still up to the individuals how they want to live. Either combat change, or suffer defeat.

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[Control Units] [Organizing] [Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 53]
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California November Updates: Stamp restrictions, Santa Clara strike success and Ashker settlement update

In our last update letter to United Struggle from Within (USW) comrades in California, we announced that the California USW Coordinator would be working with the California USW Council to provide better, more regular updates in ULK to coordinate our campaign efforts in the state. This will also reduce the need to send out separate letters except in time-sensitive instances. This issue of ULK is the first with such a CA-focused section.

One issue that came up among CA USW recently is restrictions on mailing stamp donations. This was happening at CSP-Sacramento, and more recently reported from West Valley Detention Center. In ULK 36 (3 years ago), we printed a report from San Quentin where they successfully campaigned against the same issue through a combination of 602 appeals and letters to the press exposing these restrictions on freedom of expression.

Appeal #CSQ-J-13-03205 was submitted October 27, explaining exactly how operational procedure 608 article 7 was being illegally circumvented. This appeal was rejected by appeals coordinator puppet M.L. Davis on November 1. Davis offered to process the appeal if appellant directed a CDCR 22 to the mailroom. Davis also demanded appellant remove copies of Article 7 and OP0212 which are in fact the official rules/directives regarding "items enclosed in incoming first-class mail."

If readers have other examples of successful tactics around this issue, or rules to cite, send them to MIM(Prisons) for the next issue.

Santa Clara County Strike a Success

In "Broad Participation in September 9 FAM Prison Strike" we refer to the challenge of organizing in California with more comrades in county jails not under CDCR control. Perhaps this will be a temporary setback though, as prisoners organized a recent strike in Santa Clara County. On 17 October 2016, over 300 people went on hunger strike, according to the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition. The demands were around ending solitary confinement, inadequate clothing, a faulty appeals/grievance process and the overcharging at commissary. The strike was suspended after less than a week, when the sheriff's department agreed to the demands. Comrades will maintain the strike in suspension until the changes are actually made. MIM(Prisons) commends the organizing efforts of these comrades and the focus on key campaign issues of solitary confinement and the grievance process.

Ashker Settlement Hearings Done, SHU Victims Decrease

The number of people being held in SHU has dropped sharply since the Ashker settlement (see "Torture Continues: CDCR Settlement Screws Prisoners" in ULK 46 for more background). The review process has been completed, and 1,512 of the 1,557 people covered by the settlement have been released from SHU according to CDCR, with the remaining given dates for release. The number in SHU cells in California is about 1/6 of what it was before the settlement, with less than 500 SHU prisoners as of August 2016 (according to CDCR statistics). But we know a number of our readers are still in SHU, and many more are in other forms of long-term isolation in California, which is not covered by the settlement.

We must remain vigilant now to continue the fight against solitary confinement in California. As we've always pointed out, these reforms with such narrow focus only make it harder for those who remain in these torture cells to get out. SHU cells represented less than a quarter of the prisoners in California in long-term isolation according to our last count prior to the recent decrease in SHU (see www.abolishcontrolunits.org/research). But as the comrades in Santa Clara have demonstrated, this battle is still alive in the hearts of prisoners.

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