Prisoners Report on Conditions in

California State Prison, Los Angeles County - California

Postage is one of our biggest expenses. Why not send a book of stamps or two to POB 40799 SF, CA 94140 next time you're at the post office? 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.

[Abuse] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California]
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CSP - LAC Correctional Officer Pattern of Harrassment

I'm writing your office regarding the problems I and other inmates are experiencing here at California State Prison - Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC) with this Corrections Officer (C/O) named T. Hasley. This C/O is the type of C/O Brother George Jackson was talking about. The one who walks around the prison with a little rules book in his ass pocket. This MF just come out my cell, he search my cell like everyday in retaliation and conspiring. I have written to the warden, the administration regarding this C/O and the problem I'm experiencing with this C/O. This issue continues to escalate.

Friday I was at a 602 hearing about this C/O lying about my (6) cubic ft of property and the 1 extra cubic ft allowed for legal paper work. This C/O came in my cell five minutes after the legal search to retaliation, so I got at his supervisor about the problem. His supervisor became very agitated once he was faced with several issues causec by C/O T. Hasley's intentional stupidity. Sgt M Fernardo had refused to address the matter and deliberately condones it. By stating I'm not getting in the middle of T. Hasley issue, I have better things to do.

From approximately 7:45 A.M. on 6/1/2016 to 10:10 A.M. no correctional lieutenants were summoned by unit staff. No report was made to the supervisor about failure to let me out for recreation. He also try to get me to snitch for him. That's what started the problem, I would not snitch for him. I have filed numerous complaints. Unfortunately I have been incarcerated within this department for several years. What the problem seems to be from my viewpoint is that due to my SNY status, I'm not afforded the same respect or dignity one would experience if housed within general population. I won't bore you with the number of incidents in which I personally have been disrespected by staff due to my current placement. There is no doubt that this same attitude prevails outside the ranks of custody, retaliation seems to be the norm for standing up and asking only for what we are guaranteed by due process and following the rules and regulations. I strongly believe that without some sort of intervention, I believe this C/O will keep up his wrongful acts. You know CDC convenient tactic. Like we all know they have been using it for years and it will not change at all.

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[California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California]
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Emerging September 9 Protestors

Attica

On 9 September 2014 I was the sole participant in my facility in the day of remembrance of the Attica uprising. I attempted to get another dude to participate who I've been been chatting up lately on limited and general political issues. He agreed at first, then pulled out at the last minute. This did not offend me or make me look at him differently. He is 36 years old and even tho he's older than me, I understand that he's not as strong. So it is what it is. Maybe next time.

As I dumped my tray in the morning and again at dinner (lunches are passed out at breakfast), I informed the pigs that I was fasting "in memory of my people." I caught curious glances only, but no comments. The morning meal was hash browns, fried eggs, sausage, and cold cereal, which is one of the best breakfasts here at California State Prison - Los Angeles County.

Wen I dumped it I knew someone somewhere around me didn't appreciate that I chose to do that instead of giving it to them. I didn't receive any questions or comments about it, and I didn't make a scene about it. But as the fast ended I ate some cookies first and I guess the sugar was too much of a rush because I got all sick. But it was nothin'.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Even solo protests like this one can get the attention of potential allies and put enemies on notice. No doubt some people wanted the food this comrade dumped, and this means he got their attention.

We have to make sure we take advantage of this attention and explain the philosophy behind our actions. We can use the opportunity to make clear to everyone, friends and enemies, the reasons behind our protests so that we maximize the educational value. Anti-imperialism will not be obvious without explanation. It is this explanation and discussion that is the most time consuming, and also most important part of our work at this stage of the struggle.

We hope this comrade's actions help trigger conversations with others in h facility, which will lead to organizing for peace within prisons. In a broad sense, we recommend starting organizing in your facility now for the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity 2015.

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[Campaigns] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California] [ULK Issue 32]
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Taking Grievance Petitions to Next Level

I send my greetings to the reader of this letter. Thank y'all for sending me ULK 30. As always, it was easy, mind-broadening reading. Although I understand and accept the realities presented by your info, it is discouraging to see that we of this line of thought are the minority. As obvious as all of the societal contradictions, imbalances, and institutional hypocricies are, the majority of people still hold on to the lie that Amerikkka is a fair, just, and free society. It's absurd and obscene.

I had filed a state court petition challenging the staff's abuse of the inmate appeal process here at California State Prison - Los Angeles County. The judge has issued an order for the prison officials to informally respond, and they in turn were granted an extension of time on responding. The good thing is that the petition was not summarily dismissed as is routine in the California state courts. Nevertheless, the facts, law, and evidence are strong in my claim. If given a fair shake in litigating I absolutely expect victory in the case.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade filed a state court petition in the same vein as the campaign for the proper addressing of grievances which is now three years strong. Many participants in this campaign are still circulating petitions in their facilities and mailing them to their respective wardens, prisoner support groups, etc. But others, like this comrade, have applied their knowledge of the legal system to push the campaign even further.

We hope the state court petition this comrade filed does have its fair shot at success in the courts, as these victories can contribute to the larger struggle of the oppressed in this country. Sadly, we know this is unlikely, and it is for the same reasons why Amerikans choose to ignore the "societal contradictions, imbalances, and institutional hypocricies" we report on in Under Lock & Key. Even though all Amerikans have at least some general idea of the terrible things this country does across the world and within its own borders, they receive so many great things from being Amerikan that they are willing to accept and even back those actions. We are in the minority in this country. Rather than stay discouraged, we should do as this comrade does and take that as a cue that we need to work that much harder and with more creativity in order to pave the way for revolution. And always keep in mind that we are in the majority globally.

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[Organizing] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California]
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CDCR Memos Demonstrate Power of Strike, Fear of Prisoncrats

The CDCR just had the accompanying (Sept 27) memos delivered to the prisoner population here at CSP-LAC. With respect to the memo titled "Review of Security Housing Unit and Gang Policies" I have to say that this is obviously a victory for all California prisoners and a victory wholly owed not just to the thousands of CA prisoners who participated in the mass hunger strike and various outside organizations who helped bring publicity and additional weight to bear to the states deplorable actions, but a victory which could never have come about if those courageous prisoners currently held in the SHU hadn't come together with their strong showing of unity of the oppressed. Indeed, we hope to see more of this in the future.

With that being said, I find it odd that the memo states that CDCR has been in the process of reforming its gang validation process since May 2011, well before the strike. Piece of shit Kernan is trying to give the impression that the reforms have been in the works since before the hunger strike, thereby attempting to deny the SHU prisoners their hard fought victory by making it seem that the reform were inevitable. Ha! Kernan fools no one. The capitulation to the prisoners righteous demands only helps prove MIM(Prisons)'s long standing line and materialist interpretation of history that there are no rights only power struggles. All power to the oppressed.

The second memo titled "Inmate Programming Expectations Relative to Hunger Strikes" is nothing more than the Killafornia Department of Corruptions attempt to threaten and discourage future hunger strikers and leaders from such actions as well as their attempt to encourage divisions within for defensive actions, but the CDC's posturing and threatening memos are futile because as long as there is oppression there will be resistance.

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[Organizing] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California] [ULK Issue 16]
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Mass Hunger Strike in California

On July 27, 2010 a mass hunger strike took place at California State Prison - Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC) in which close to, if not well over 1000 prisoners participated. This mass hunger strike was successfully organized directly under the noses of pigs and their collaborators. The purpose of this strike was to protest and call attention to another of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation's (CDCR) oppressive and unconstitutionally sponsored pilot-programs in which prisoners are being forced to endure an average of 23 hours a day, seven days a week, confined in closed quarters.(1)

Whispers and murmurs were heard and acknowledged within certain circles concerning the impending hunger strike the week before-hand, however nothing was certain, or set in stone with regard to the actual date and time of the scheduled event outside of the strike organizers. Willing participants were advised not to exit their cells for either breakfast or dinner services during the period of no less than 24 hours in advance of the strike. This tactic of putting people up on game solely on a need-to-know basis was done specifically with the purpose of minimizing leaks and to prevent information from reaching prison administrators' ears. The strike was originally intended to last for a minimum of 72 hours. This was because it takes a minimum of 72 hours before CDCR officials in Sacramento must be notified by prison officials of the ongoing hunger strike. Only then are prison doctors required by Title 15 regulations to begin the tedious and time consuming work of weighing strike participants and giving medical exams.

Building 3 on facility C was the first housing unit to initiate the protest as they are the first building to walk to chow. Other buildings were instructed to immediately follow suit whether they then walked to chow or got cell-fed. The quiet was eerie as well as defiantly deafening as cell after cell refused to step out for feeding. Only then did it become immediately apparent to the pigs that something was up. The yard was immediately put on lockdown as pigs scrambled to find out exactly what was happening. All so-called MAC reps(2) were ordered to report to the facility program office in order to speak to the Sergeant, Lieutenant and Captain.

Conditions Leading to Strike

As I stated during the beginning of this article, this hunger strike was the result of C-facilities' administrators, the prison warden, and quite possibly Sacramento officials' direct refusal to allot prisoners here the required minimum of hours per Title 15 regulations of physical exercise outside of our cells. The California Code of Regulations explicitly states that inmates who are to be considered security threats to their institution are to be allotted no less than one hour a day, five days a week (Monday thru Friday) of physical exercise outside of their cells. This info can be found in CDCR Title 15, 3322, Length of Confinement (a), 3331 conditions of detention (h) avid 3343 Conditions of Segregated Housing (h). The above mentioned regulations are designated for prisoners being forced to participate in said programs. However, C-facility prisoners at CSP-LAC are not considered safety and security threats, but instead are designated general population per the Title 15. Therefore the question to be begged here is, why are general population prisoners being subjected to such long and concurrent periods of time inside of our cells without meaningful physical exercise? General population prisoners must be given a minimum of ten hours of P.E. outside of our cells Mon - Fri according to old Title 15 regulations, however the CDCR has conveniently wiped this regulation from the Title 15 in order to get away with violating constitutionally upheld decisions.

This is a question which has continually been asked at this gulag since this yard officially opened back in September of 2009. Pigs and officials alike have stated that the yard program will improve once the yard officially opens, or that they're currently "working on it". However, the real reason that there is no yard here is quite simply that they just don't want to run it. Period.

Back in January 25, 2009, then-Captain Fortson released an ill-devised memo in an attempt to quell the prison masses' demands for yard. In this memo Fortson stated that "no more than 100 IM's on each side (as per safety ratio) and that all buildings will have yard 2x per week."

First of all, there is no way in hell that they can adequately provide physical exercise for all 1000+ prisoners when the yard is kept to a maximum capacity of 100 prisoners at a time, or 200 prisoners even, as of late. Also, with all the bullshit that goes on around here as well as the purposely delayed and cancellations of program, it is simply impossible for prisoners to receive anywhere near the ten hour minimum or five hour minimum for that matter of required physical exercise outside of our cells. This isn't rocket science people, and it isn't incompetence either. It is an arbitrary application of the safety & security doctrine. Why? Because in his ill-devised memo which will come back to bite CSP-LAC officials in the ass, the good Captain does not elaborate on this "safety ratio." And why does he not? Because there is no safety ratio, only a failed attempt to dupe the prisoners into buying the illegitimacy of their own oppression.

Finally, prisoners here got tired of patiently waiting to be given the right to exit their cells for meaningful physical exercise, so we decided to do something about it.

How it Went Down

Now, according to the so-called MAC reps who met with the facility heads immediately following the hunger strike, the administration stated that we'd certainly "gotten their attention." They were then given the captain's "word" that he would look into the issues and that things would change. However, if the MAC reps wanted the honor of an audience with the warden then they'd have to instruct all prisoners participating in the strike to give up the struggle. This was complete and total bullshit as it was obvious to anyone with half a brain that the pigs only wanted us to break it down and stop striking. This point was made very clear by a tiny minority within the organizers and insiders. They advised the MAC reps not to break it down, but instead to go around and tell everybody to keep striking. Unfortunately, perhaps out of real stupidity or just plain cowardice, the Executive Body MAC reps capitulated and went around telling people to end the hunger strike after a measly six and a half hours. Any continued act of resistance to the administration in the form of the hunger strike, or any other means by isolated individuals would've been futile as the vast majority of the population had already ceased. The damage was done.

Among the organizers and insiders there was a small minority who were against this mass action at this time, not only because they didn't believe that the objective conditions were entirely conducive for such measures as today's prisoner is programed to be docile and take a lot of crap, but also because they foresaw precisely the type of capitulation that ended up taking place. Furthermore, this small minority gathered that if indeed some organizers were hell-bent on kicking off this hunger strike then they might as well go one step further and instead call for a mass sit down and follow it with a hunger strike, as this would cause more havoc and confusion to the pigs, plus, they'd have to immediately justify their secondary response to Sacramento, as opposed to the 72 hour hunger strike requirement. It is the small minority's belief that this would have been the correct approach. Unfortunately, the majority of the organizers won out with their idea. Disappointed but still determined to at the very least help organize the strike, solely for solidarity purposes, the small minority encouraged others to join in. Of course there is much more to this story, but due to security purposes it will remain confidential.

In the end as a result of the strike we are now on lockdown. Also, the Executive Body MAC reps were almost all sent to the hole for suspicion of being the organizers and leaders of the strike. This is of course ridiculous as we all know that MAC really stands for Man-Against-Convict. And so now we await to see what happens in light of these events. Will the administration keep their word? Highly unlikely. While the Executive Body rots in the hole, the real leadership is still on the loose in the population, like fish blending into the sea. Prison administrators are confused if they believe they can organize and keep us in check in a top down structure with their MAC reps. Instead we organize from the bottom up, from the masses to the masses.

If nothing else readers of this article should take away one thing, there are no rights, only power struggles.

Notes:
(1) The one hour per day outside the cell is typically spent as follows: 15-20 minutes allotted to and from the dining hall for AM feeding, 15-20 minutes to and from the dining hall for PM feeding with the occasional five or ten minute delay, alarms, etc. In fact, when not on lockdown or "modified program" we in the general population receive an average of 2-3 hours of meaningful P.E. with recreational and exercise equipment, once a week.
(2)MAC Rep stands for "Mens Advisory Council." These MAC reps are voted into their positions by the population and are expected to voice prisoners concerns to administration. However, their real purpose as far as the administration is concerned is to keep the population under firm control and subservient.

This article referenced in:
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[Organizing] [Censorship] [Campaigns] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California] [ULK Issue 13]
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Petition for Proper Handling of Grievances

I have sent MIM(Prisons) a letter of grievance for use by CDCR prisoners. Its purpose is to petition the Director of Corrections to investigate the purposeful failure of the 602 procedure [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation grievance process] within California State Prison - Los Angeles County. This is something somebody put together for the general population here on C-yard. It is our intention to flood the Director's office with these petitions in hopes that it will shed some light onto the illegal acts in which these pigs are willing participants. We are being forced to file these petitions due to the unfortunate fact that the vast majority of our 602s are not being filed or properly heard.

The idea is to distribute this petition to all CDCR facilities and to have as many people sign and mail the petition to the Director's office as possible. Once all parties receive their responses concerning the petition, all responses along with contradictory paperwork should be sent to the Prison Law Office (which is specific to CA), the Office of Internal Affairs, etc. Our goal is to expose CDCR, its administration, and facilities as tools of repression and the lengths that they will go to to cover their crimes.

If correctly done, this action can be one in which quite possibly hundreds or thousands of prisoners will have the opportunity to make their voices heard and their wrongs known. It will be very hard for the Civil Rights Division of the Dept. of Justice and other agencies to ignore us. At worst, if we still fail, then we will at least have further proven that this "justice" system is not for us but against us.

My hope in sending this to MIM(Prisons)'s legal aid clinic is that you will redistribute this petition to those working with MIM and explain the concept to our comrades struggling from within so that we may all work together as one in a concerted effort to expose and hopefully create favorable conditions for the masses concerned in whatever they may be struggling for. I think that what I'm proposing here with the coordinated form of "legal attack" is of course a good use of MIM's legal aid clinic time and it would benefit all prisoners, not just in California.

In order for the rest of the prisoner population held in different prisons to correctly use this petition, they will of course need to change the name of the facility to that of their own. They will also have to look up their own "Departmental Operational Manual" citations in order to be in compliance. Someone will also have to take the lead for everyone in their facility, individual yard, etc.

MIM(Prisons) Adds: We see this campaign as a great use of our resources because our ability to fairly have our grievances handled is directly related to preventing arbitrary repression for people who stand up for their rights or attempt to do something positive. Spreading revolutionary literature, including Under Lock & Key, is a huge part of MIM(Prisons)'s organizing work. We support this petition in light of our anti-censorship work and anti-repression work in general.

We have sent this campaign to our United Struggle from Within and Prison Legal Clinic comrades in California, but this is an issue that should be spread to wherever it is relevant. Prisoners outside of California facing similar problems may be able to re-write the petition using their state's citation and policy numbers. [Ed.- A comrade in Texas has already translated the petition for use in the TDCJ system.] You will also need to research which administrators the petition should be sent to in your state. Write to us if you want to work on this campaign in California or elsewhere!

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[Campaigns] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California]
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Warden Turns a Blind Eye to Staff Misconduct

02/18/2010

This is a response from Warden B. M. Cash at California State Prison, Los Angeles County to a participant in the campaign for proper handling of grievances. In this response, Warden Cash avoids addressing our comrade's petition, effectively supporting the illegal activity of his staff.

The Warden received this petition from several prisoners, not just one, and s/he still doesn't see a need to conduct h own investigation. This is just one example of the lack of redress afforded prisoners within the imperialists' bureaucratic runaround. It is proof of our need for a new society; one where writing a letter to an administrator in charge of dozens of employees who are actively perpetuating your oppression leads to at least an investigation!

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[Organizing] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Unity works to combat unreasonable regs

On 4 September 2009, the prisoners of California State Prison - Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC) came together in an act of protest, resistance and solidarity against sadistic pigs and oppressive administrations practice of the denial of basic humyn rights. For those who are unfamiliar with CSP-LAC, it needs to be pointed out that the prison is actually located on the outskirts of Los Angeles in what is referred to as the High Desert. Being as we are in the desert, temperatures are often either in the extreme heat or extreme cold, and even though it is only October, the temperature dropped somewhat dramatically. I'm not sure as to exactly what the temperature was, it was either in the upper 40s or lower 50s. It was definitely cool either way.

We were made to walk to a chow hall opposite the yard, and we were not given any jackets, so many prisoners decided to wear their personal thermals under their prison blues. Upon arriving to the dinning hall about four or five fellow prisoners were returned to our buildings by the yard pigs for the simple act of wearing a thermal in an attempt to try to stay warm. Upon arriving back to the building those same prisoners asked to speak with the sergeant in order to discuss this ridiculous regulation. The pigs on the scene refused to call the sergeant, so the prisoners decided to simply take a seat on the tables and wait for the pigs to call him.

As I arrived back to my building I saw those four or five brothers in captivity seated. I'd already heard what was going on so I approached them and took a seat with them as I was interested in speaking with the lead pig myself. As the rest of our brothers returned, many looked on in confusion. Some saw what was going and in a collective show of solidarity simply walked over and sat with us. By the time everybody returned, our numbers grew from six to about ten or eleven. Needless to say, this was a pathetic amount of people for a building that holds about 200. It is important however to point out that this was a completely spontaneous event and the majority of people were not aware of what was going on, so there is no blame.

However, after about 20 minutes, a couple of prisoners scared themselves into submission and decided that this wasn't worth going to the hole over. We explained that there was nothing to go to the hole over, we were simply asking to speak to the sergeant, and even if they did send us to the hole, then we were prepared to go. If that was the price of speaking up for ourselves and our basic humyn right of keeping warm, then so be it. Not 5 minutes later the pigs hit the alarm on us. We immediately took a seated position on the floor as the pig Sgt. Jameson trotted in, foaming at the bit, waving his little stick at us, while verbally insulting us and threatening to spray us with his OC if we didn't get down, but we were already down.

We were all cuffed and taken outside and lined up along the yard fence, made to face away from our oppressors. While we were cuffed some of the pigs suddenly found their courage and began to make their little smart ass remarks. Some of us began to speak up and merely explain our position and that all we wanted to do was have a conversation with the sergeant. At this time the piece of shit sergeant resumed with his posture of threats and verbal abuse. At this point we finally just said "fuck you and everything you stand for" to which his reply was to call for an exaggerated request for re-enforcements. All yards were ordered to shut down and have their pigs flood our yard. All this for a handful of prisoners who were already in restraints. About 10 minutes later the secondary response arrived, however there was not much for them to do except to supervise the locking up of the remaining prisoners on the yard who were in no way involved with us.

After about 20-30 minutes the yard was finally clear of prisoners except for those of us in restraints. All the while we were cuffed and on our knees facing a wall. As the secondary response team slowly evacuated the yard another alarm went off. It turns out that the prisoners in the gym witnessed what was going on with us and simultaneously decided to get off their bunks directly disobeying orders and refusing to lay back down. They decided to protest the fact that they were being made to lay down, and stay on their bunk all day long. They were also not being allowed to go to their work assignments. So the gym said "fuck it" and the secondary response team had to run in there and extract about 30 people. Thirty people is a small number compared to the capacity being held in the gym, but still better numbers than the so-called "high security" prisoners. All in all I counted about 42 people out there. Three people were chosen to be interviewed by ISU (Investigative Service Unit). They basically wanted to know what it was that brought all this about. They were told that all we wanted to do is to have a simple discussion with the facility sergeant as to why we weren't being allowed to wear our thermals. We did nothing wrong, nor did we disobey any order to lock it up. As a matter of fact, we were never told to take it into our cells; the prison pigs just hit the alarm.

We were then interviewed by the yard lieutenant and assistant warden. We repeated our line and also stated that as far as we knew their little rule about us not being allowed to wear our thermals was bogus since the Title 15 no longer stipulates whether we can or cannot. We were also not being allowed to look at the prison DOM (Departmental Operational Manual) and every pig we asked concerning the "no thermals in the chow hall" rule refused to confirm or deny whether the regulation is actually on the books or not, or whether this is all just part of the yard administration's power trip, which makes me think that since they've not confirmed or answered our questions, and only gave vague answers, then they're obviously hiding something.

Recognizing that we're being granted an audience with prison administrators some of us took the opportunity to bring up a variety of issues affecting the population. We told them we weren't being allowed to use the phone, go to yard, etc. Their response was that as far as the thermals were concerned we are in fact not allowed to wear them to the chow hall. However, they still did not confirm whether it is a mandated regulation or not. They then apologized for not issuing out jackets. They said that we're supposed to have been issued jackets weeks ago but there was some delay. The warden was currently making some calls trying to get us some jackets. By the end of the interview we were told that they'd found us some jackets and that they would be issued Monday. However, we were also told not to take this as them somehow giving in to our demands. Yeah right. We were told that concerning the program on the yard, we had ourselves to blame because of supposed safety risks that we are always causing. At the end of the interview they told us that we were all going to be punished for participating in a disturbance. We were then sent out back to our cells.

Hours later those jackets that were nowhere in sight or on the prison grounds were somehow "found" and distributed. Funny how that works.

Now today, for the first time in four months, a huge portion of the population was allowed access to the phones.

Who knows, maybe tomorrow we'll finally get some yard.

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