Prisoners Report on Conditions in

North Kern State Prison - California

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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.

[Hunger Strike] [North Kern State Prison] [California]
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Transfers and Censorship Retaliation for Hunger Strikers

Here in the Ad-Seg unit at North Kern they've transferred a lot of us to A4 which is on the main level III yard, and half of the building is Ad-Seg, the other is orientation. All of us are on single cell status and validated members and associates of STG (Security Threat Group types) I & II but there's unity in here.

The hunger strike/work stoppage is over, and most if not all received 128 G chronos for participating. This will be used as validation points, but no one cares. We don't get our 10 hour a week for yard, no laundry exchange, or supplies being passed out, and our food is cold because they serve it on paper trays.

Our mail has to get rerouted from the other Ad-Seg unit and the IGI/ISU informed us that the SF Bayview, CA Prison Focus, The Rock, Revolution, Militant, PHSS, MIM(Prisons) and any of the literature that makes reference to our struggle behind these walls will be screened and withheld. I've been receiving mail that's 2.5 months old. We have a group 602 going around collecting signatures so we can show the yard captain we're not happy with this program we have here in the A4 location. Just yesterday they cell extracted someone and all of us above the incident on the top tier had pepper spray in our cells, because it came up through our cells, and the ventilating shaft.

This is all from the North Kern Grave Yard.

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[Hunger Strike] [North Kern State Prison] [California]
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Spreading News About Hunger Strike

I've been siting here in North Kern State Prison for the last 3 months waiting to see my counselor so I could get cleared for transfer to my next place of confinement. We don't get much action or anything here, reading material is always hard to come by. But the other day I got the chance to read your Under Lock & Key newspaper and I must admit I liked it, a lot!

Through the grapevine I heard about what was planned for July 8th, 2013, but to be real no one knew if it was true or not. Until reading your newspaper it was just a rumor, and today we know it's not, thanks a lot for the information.


MIM(Prisons) adds: It may seem like information about the hunger strike in California was widely available to prisoners based on the high number of participants, but this letter demonstrates the slow and difficult work involved in building such an action. Each pod, or sometimes each cell, is isolated from all others, and getting information about what's going on depends on the whims of the censors at each prison, who might get transferred, and what outside contacts people have. This is one reason we stress the importance of everyone getting their own subscription to Under Lock & Key. You never know when you will be isolated from your comrades, but as long as you can receive mail you will at least get some news from ULK. In addition, the more people subscribed, the more likely that one or two copies of the newsletter will make it past the censors in any prison.

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[Political Repression] [Campaigns] [North Kern State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 23]
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Hunger Strike First Step in Building United Front

So much is going on right now with the hunger strike reactivated. Here at North Kern State Prison we received a memo stating that whoever participated in the new hunger strike will be severely punished. Wow! They can only make us stronger, so every race is refusing one meal a day to show our solidarity.

My main comment is in response to the so-called comrade calling everybody in Special Needs Yards (SNY) a snitch. S/he was very wrong. As you stated in Under Lock & Key 21, 13 prisons supported the hunger strike initiated in Pelican Bay State Prison in July. CCI Tehachapi is predominately SNY, and all of R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility and Pleasant Valley State Prison is SNY. SNY is 3-to-1 over the very overrated general population (GP), and we don't get validated by SNYs; we get validated by GPs. Unity in the masses is needed. How can you question someone else's loyalty when the very same individual could go to SNY one day? We GPs created SNY, and not all SNYs are bad. A lot of my comrades who are still solid Crips went SNY to get release dates. I can't be mad at that, or anyone willing to debrief to leave the SHU.

In this hunger strike the unity is with us all starving ourselves for the better treatment of our beloved comrades who are stuck in the back willing to die for a righteous cause. I support that! We are all trying to bring a United Front with all structures in the California prison system; not just with a hunger strike, but it's a start. True, the pigs are the enemy and we've let them divide us. We can stand together against them as long as leaders lead right with the positive influence to cease all grudges and stress why the unity is needed. And that's all prisons across the country. All LK, GD, UL, BGF, EME, TS, AB, CCO, UBN, 415, and anything else that's of the lumpen.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Every oppressed persyn should know that there is nothing to gain by talking to the police. But without proper training, and when facing years in a torture cell, many will not know how to respond in a way that serves their interests in the short and long-term. Yet, the hunger strike is so important because of the role the SHU plays in repressing the organization of the oppressed. We want to keep people out of there. And while debriefing is generally translated as snitching, a Corcoran prisoner describes:

"A debriefer who was briefly in this individual's cell told IGI, the individual spoke of the merits of socialism, the history of political resistance to racism in America, and the validity of the socio-economic and political views of Frantz Fanon, Ho Chi Minh, and George Lester Jackson. The IGI told the debriefer this was 'BGF education,' to which the debriefer quickly agreed, framed it in those terms, and parroted what his IGI handler told him to."

The author of this quote, who was validated, is quick to condemn SNY prisoners, describing them as the most violent and discussing the gangs they have formed to work directly with the pigs. While it is true that many LOs work with the pigs, that is not limited to SNY. And while many in prison have given real information to the pigs, the above example begs the question, what do we have to gain by condemning snitches when all they are doing is parroting the pigs? Aren't the pigs in control, going so far as to tell them what to say?

Rather than marveling at the lack of character of the current generation, we need to look at the reasons why so many prisoners are easily manipulated to play the pigs' game. There are material bases for the actions of the masses. If there's too much snitching, then why don't the LOs address the causes for that? What support can you provide your members to encourage different behavior? Because the current way ain't working.

In California, SNY, like SHU, has been used as a tool to break up oppressed nation organizing. But it has become so common that prisoners are questioning the SNY vs. GP split that the state created. We echo this comrade's recognition that California prisoners came together over the last three months across all lines, a good step towards expanding the United Front for Peace in Prisons, and we join this comrade in calling for LOs to continue to come together in this struggle.

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