Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Colorado 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.

[Campaigns] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 25]
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Joining Grievance Campaign

In order to file a §1983 prisoner complaint, one must exhaust the facility grievance procedure on any issues beforehand. The pigs here claim procedural defect, frustrating the exhaustion requirement of the PLRA. Now that the institution has been made aware of my pending §1983 suite, they block the third and final grievance process. I am submitting a revised complaint with denial of access to the court added, and I will keep you informed.

I passed two grievance petitions on down the line. Colorado chain gang is just as messed up as you might think, but I do help those who at least show some heart. I pass all of my info on to other people, to maybe spark some fight.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The grievance campaign is spreading from its start in California to Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas. Write to us for copies of the grievance petition for your state. If you are in a state not currently covered by the grievance campaign you can use the current petitions as a format, but will need to look up citations and policies specific to your state for reference in the petition. If you do this research and send us what needs to be rewritten for your particular state, we will gladly send an edited, accurate copy to other USW and Legal Clinic folks in your state.

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[Campaigns] [Civil Liberties] [Download and Print] [Legal] [Censorship] [Colorado]
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Downloadable Petition to Protect U.$. Constitution, Colorado

Colorado Petition
Click to Download PDF of Colorado Petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with the grievance procedure, or mandatory polygraph testing. 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.

Mr. Tom Clements, Executive Director
Colorado Department of Corrections
2862 S. Circle Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80906

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 July 2012, October 2017, September 2018*

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[Abuse] [Hudson Correctional Facility] [Colorado]
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Abuse at Private Prison in Colorado

I am an Alaska prisoner at a Cornell company, Cornell Corrections, a private for profit facility in Hudson, Colorado. This facility is not to be confused with a state or federal operated prison. It has private investors and is contracted to the state of Alaska to house prisoners because of the so-called overcrowding.

This facility as with all private for profit facilities is extremely corrupt. Cornell Corrections has a long history of corruption and illegal actions. I, along with a large percentage of the prisoners at this corrupt facility, should not be here because we are maximum security and maximum custody. The Alaska DOC/Cornell company's contract and the state of Colorado statutes both state that no maximum security, or maximum custody prisoners are to be housed in private, for-profit prisons in the state of Colorado.

The employees at this corrupt facility are not sworn to oath correctional officers. They are untrained or extremely poorly trained private citizens. Cornell employees are not empowered in any official capacity. If indeed they employ a law enforcement or correctional officer, these COs may not exercise their official authority while employed by a private party or contractor. This is a conflict of interest and allows for lawsuits to be filed on them for this illegal action.

I am at present in the SHU, Special Housing Unit, due to a fight instigated by a Cornell employee, Joe Hammock, employee number 17454. Joe Hammock had harassed and humiliated me numerous times prior to this incident which took place in May, 2010. A Black female employee, Larnette Mingo, employee number 17432, joined Joe Hammock in this fight. I had filed several complaints and grievances over harassment, humiliation, and discrimination actions by Mingo towards me and other non-Black prisoners. These two employees were then joined by two more employees, Stephen Mannan, employee #17273 and Paul Price, employee #17219, with Price being the senior employee in charge. I at this point had approximately 900 to 1000 pounds jumping on top of me. Stephen Mannan put handcuffs on me squeezing them down until they cut into my wrist and then stood and kicked me in the lower rib cage. I was then basically dragged through the G-A Mod by pulling and jerking on the handcuffs by Price and Mannan, through two sets of doors and then Mannan and Price threw me in a corner with Mannan then slamming my head into the wall cutting my right eye, while yelling, "I never liked you anyway, I'll make you sorry for what you did you scumbag. I'll make life a living hell for you."

I was then escorted to the SHU unit (the Hole) where I have been since. I ask for law enforcement to be summoned in accordance to law, and they were not. When I ask for law enforcement to be called I was told by a female employee, good luck, as she walked away laughing. Law enforcement was supposed to be called due to this being an assault issue at a private, for-profit prison. I ask at least three times for police to be summoned. A medical employee then came to the cell I was in. I asked to see credentials as to who and what part of the medical profession she was, which she stated she did not have to produce. I then refused to speak to her due to the fact that medical issues are to be confidential, and not to be shared with non-medical employees.

They claimed that I am charged with assault on staff members. I have not received any paperwork from the Colorado court system or law enforcement that any charges were filed on me. I have been hauled to the Weld county courts two times and was appointed a public defender, whose name I do not know.

In June 2010 a disciplinary hearing officer from Cornell Corrections, J. Becker, came to the cell I was in and stated that the District Attorney of Weld county, Greely Colorady had dismissed all charges and that I was not charged by DOC Alaska for assault of a staff member. A disciplinary hearing was held by J. Becker after the charges were dismissed and I was sentenced to 30 days of punitive segregation which I served and was completed. The state of Colorado is now re-charging me for violations I have been sentenced and served my punishment for ending. I find this action to be extremely corrupt and illegal. The public defender appointed to me has done nothing in my defense. I am just one of an extremely large number of Alaska DOC prisoners to be corruptly and illegally treated at this Cornell companies facility. All of the corrupt and illegal actions mentioned prior are promoted by, condoned and endorsed by very corrupt Cornell company and facility heads, superintendent Rick Veach and his cronies, Trevor Williams, and Scott Vineyard.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This prisoner gives some good documentation about the private prisons in Colorado along with details about the employees who are perpetuating a system of corruption and abuse. As we explained in our article on the U.$. Prison Economy, private prisons are a small portion of the criminal injustice system, at least partially due to their inability to remain profitable. But we know from reports from other prisoners and our own research, private prisons cut costs in ways that lead to even more atrocious conditions and danger for prisoners. We print this article as further documentation of the conditions in private prisons.

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[Campaigns] [Hudson Correctional Facility] [Colorado]
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Corrupt Grievance System in Private Colorado Prison

On the issue of the Grievance Campaign (page 8, ULK16), first off, we are Alaska DOC prisoners at a Cornell Company corrections facility, which GEO Group (formerly Wakenhut Corrections) just bought into. The grievance system at this private for profit facility is a total farce. The grievance coordinator, as with most other employees at this corrupt facility, is totally untrained. His name is Rob Marseden, and he has no clue of the Alaska DOC policies and procedures, ACA standards, etc.

If the grievance is replied to at all, it is not in the specified time frame and is always devoid of merit and factually incredible. All grievances are frivolous, according to the corrupt facility heads, Rick Veach Superintendent, and his two cronies Williams and Vineyard. So yes, we have an extreme problem with the grievance system at this totally corrupt and illegally operated facility.

I am in the SHU MOD due to a confrontation with a Cornell employee in May. I am denied the grievance system by the corrupt superintendent, who claims I filed too many grievances over staff misconduct, the garbage served as food, which is in non-compliance, and medical.


MIM(Prisons) responds:
This is just one of many letters we get from prisoners across the country who can not use the administrative system of grievances to address wrongdoings by the criminal injustice system. Without being able to show a process of internal grieving, prisoners in the U.$. are not allowed access to the external courts to plead their case either. This pattern underlines the need for independent institutions of the oppressed to fight for basic humyn rights.

We are campaigning to get grievances effectively addressed, and to expose the corruption and oppression going on behind bars. Contact us for more information and to get a copy of the petition to join an existing campaign or to start organizing in your state.

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[Prison Labor] [Organizing] [Limon Correctional Facility] [Colorado]
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Organizing Strikes for Lasting Change

I read with a smile the article in ULK 16 titled Mass Hunger Strike in California and it reminded me of a similar event in Colorado at the Limon Correctional Facility(LCF) facility in June 2002, when close to 850 of the 975 POWs refused to go to the chow hall for three full days. The first morning a few people ate but were quickly shown the error of that. The only ones who had our blessings were the diabetics and sick who needed to eat. Word came down from the Warden, put your complaints and issues in writing and I will personally address them.

That was done and a "few" minor things actually changed for the better. Over the next several days and even months the line staff flat-out told us that what shook up the LCF management team administration was the fact that 850 plus "inmates" stood together for three days. That was an act of defiance and passive aggressive rebellion almost unheard of in the Colorado DOC for almost 20 years. This is a system where the "inmates" regularly laid down rather than even contemplate doing without their TVs, coffee and ramen soups for a few weeks, or months. This is a prison system where about 30% or so are lifers doing life without parole or 40 calendar years before their first parole date.

The Colorado DOC has mimicked other states with the total removal or severe restriction of use of free weights, out door and indoor recreation time, and demolition of programs that actually help the prisoners. And once the administration saw there was no resistance, then the pay was cut by 50 to 80%, depending on what type of assignment you had. In June 2003 the CDOC not only cut the pay they raised canteen prices, and the indigent level. So although there is on paper, such a thing as being "indigent" and showing the DOCs obligation to provide a minimum of hygiene and writing material, the DOC "paid" everyone, every month, at least a few cents more than the indigent amount. So, even though the DOC most often debited this entire amount immediately after posting it on your prison account, under their interpretation of their rules, no one can actually be indigent. Therefore the DOC does not have to supply hygiene items or writing material.

The purpose of the above is to point out that sporadic and specific acts of organized non-violent protest are well and good to get momentary attention for a few minor particular issues or complaints, but in order for POWs across the U$ to truly become men and women worthy of what you seek and deserve, each of you have to educate yourself! Make that your number one goal.

We as POWs can have all the outside help, but we need to develop the inside help and come to grips with the reality we as a group will probably have to suffer through some very lean and mean times due to long term work strikes, but it is in these work strikes that we have our power! A few weeks won't hurt the bank roll of the profiteers, but several months of no product and the prison officials will be told by the politicians (who are controlled by those with $$) to give us what we need, deserve, and want, to get production back on line at all costs.

Sure we will be subjected to the strip cells and frequent strip searches and mishandling and/or destruction of our property, but you can prepare for some of that. Send out photos and documents that are important, stock up on certain items. Only order bare hygiene items and writing material for 6 to 8 months, leave the junk food alone. Maybe no phone calls unless an emergency.

Hit them where they harm us, in their pocketbooks. Above all, do not resort to violence or destruction tactics. Although this gets media and outside attention, it does not engender the type of serious attention we, as POWs, want or need because we need to retain legitimacy for our cause.

As was plainly pointed out by an old convict back in the 70s in Texas: "Them guards can only do to us what we let em do."

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[Culture] [Colorado]
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Is Hip Hop as Revolutionary Culture?

Personally I see nothing revolutionary about so-called hip hop nowadays. As someone who grew up in the 80s living the lifestyle, all I see now is everyone doing the same, saying the same, and looking the same. Hip hop needs a throat lozenge because it's lost its voice. When hip hop was pertinent there was a message in the music. A message which not only brought to light the various socio-economic maladies that affected the youth, but often times offered a remedy or blueprint to initiate change.

There were differing styles of dress depending upon how a particular individual wanted to express himself. Long gone are the Africa medallions or airbrushed jeans and hats that actually had meaning only to be replaced with precious metals and name brand couture. Real hip hop is alive and well in Cuba where they've even set up a position for the continuation of hip hop and expression by the government. Wow! In the U.S. hip hop has sold out to the mass media and has morphed into a watered down form of cheap musical entertainment. Shame on hip hop for allowing itself to become what it has. Notice how those rappers who talk about nothing of substance sell the most records while Mos Def or Dead Prez barely get a mention?

I believe that the bourgeoisie has systematically carried out a sinister plan to eliminate any type of thought provoking messages from being spread via hip hop music in an effort to keep the blind in the blind. I also believe that a direct correlation can be made between recent so-called hip hop's virtual passivity and the staggering number of inmates wandering around the multiple plantations in the good old US of A. We've been getting the message that it's okay for this government to do what it wants because we can't ever change it. There's nothing revolutionary about that!

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[Prison Labor] [Colorado]
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Poor and Tired in Colorado

I got your latest ULK #8. I think they couldn't find a reason to deny this issue. In this issue you had a section on prison labor. Colorado pays 60 cents per day. After taking DOC's 20% cut we get 48 cents for slaving for Governor Ritter all day. This is just another way the state of Colorado keeps us poor and unable to call our families. Poor and tired the Governor Ritter way in Colorado.

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[Political Repression] [Legal] [U.S. Penitentiary Florence] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 9]
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Fighting the Real Gangs with Paperwork

I got a hold of your March 2009 No 7 issue. It was the first time I ever saw a MIM(Prisons)'s Under Lock & Key newsletter. One of your articles really reached out to me, about the administration being the real gang. I’m in the feds at USP Florence. I’m currently going through the administrative remedy process for 2 reasons. #1 is my case manager not doing his job. I was supposed to be out February 12th but my case manager has messed my paperwork up so bad, and on more than one occasion, so that I won’t be out until May 14th. The only reason I’m even getting out in May is because my family on the street applied pressure to the proper offices. And my derelict case manager doesn’t even have so much as a reprimand in his file. Just to give you an example of his shoddy work, check this: I’m from Washington DC, and when Mr. Pacheko presented me with my initial release papers they were for an address in Southern California.

The second grievance I’m filing is in relation to a shakedown. I’m currently in SHU on admin-seg. The captain and riot squad came and took everybody to the rec cage area and made us all strip and spread eagle. This took place on 3-25-09 when the temp was below 30 degrees. This strip search was in direct violation of FBOP program statement 5521.04, the 6th circuit ruling in Cornwell v. Dahlberg, and the 4th amendment to the US Constitution. Since I’m in SHU I have to wait for a member of my unit team to respond to get administrative remedies. Since I filed the first remedy, nobody from my unit team has been to see me. Effectively they are killing my ability to file anything further.

To any prisoner anywhere who reads this, I want you to know that prison guards and administrators don’t care if you have a violent outburst to staff misconduct. That’s exactly what they want you to do. So then they can gas you, assault you, and then write you an incident report. The only things these people care about is filing paperwork. I’ve been put out of two institutions for “disrupting the orderly running of the institution” because I file lots of paperwork on behalf of myself and others. Remember, if you do something wrong they write you up. So you have to write them back up.

MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade that it's important we use the legal system to fight the abuses of the criminal injustice system. When you take on the system you can also use the pages of Under Lock and Key to expose the injustice and publicize your battles.

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[Control Units] [Limon Correctional Facility] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 7]
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Thrown in segregation for writing complaint about conditions

I am living in segregation on a plantation in Limon, Colorado. A month ago I wrote a comprehensive and detailed letter to the American "Corruptional" Association asking how they could give a score of a hundred percent to a prison that denies a third of its population (self included) pillows, trash cans, trash bags, mattresses that are thicker than a piece of cardboard, jobs, and other items.

With Colorado DOC it is all about greed. Prisons do not exist in this state to provide rehabilitation to "offenders," but instead exist to provide a lucrative and easy lifestyle for employees of the system at all levels. We as prisoners are merely an inconvenience and are treated as such. And at a time when corporate Amerika is cutting back and doing away with pensions and insurance, Colorado DOC just received an additional $64 million for the new fiscal budget, and additionally is getting 1,630 new employees. The prison budget is fast approaching $1 billion annually for a state of roughly 5 million inhabitants. Meanwhile, we are having things like real beef, fresh vegetables, and other essential items taken from the menu, which they hardly follow anyway, and we get laundry back that has not been washed with any amount of detergent. In addition there are no trash cans, trash bags, pillows, new mattresses, or even chairs or stools for the wall mounted desks. I am currently writing sideways on a TV shelf.

Shortly after sending the letter to the ACA I got a horrific shakedown that the guard says was "ordered by admin" in which they found a broken razor in the trash that had arrived broken in the package. Then based upon finding this "dangerous weapon" four thugs came and arrested me while I was in the middle of typing a letter to my attorney in the law library. Now I have been in here 15 days and have not seen any paperwork or charges, but I have been told repeatedly that they exist. Now what do I do? I have never once been to seg here at this hell hole and I have successfully completed two terms of probation for minor offenses during my two years here.

I have never once had a charge for assaulting a staff member or inmate, nor have I ever been charged or even accused of having dangerous contraband, drugs, or weapons. But now due to a broken razor I am too dangerous to be in general population.

It is not uncommon to have wardens making six figures and lower levels of admin making $85 to $95k per year plus all the goodies. If I were a taxpayer in this state I would be outraged.

Our mail is illegally searched, copied and/or read all the time without probable cause or justification (legal mail included). Currently, the two items that you sent me have been sent to the alleged "reading committee" due to what is more often than not, the uneducated, unsophisticated mailroom staff's inability to figure out what they are looking at. However, I do expect to receive these copies that I was really looking forward to, in about a month.

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[Censorship] [Colorado]
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Censorship in Colorado

Colorado – 3rd in per capital prison spending
47th in per capital education spending
6th fastest growing prison population in the U.S.
No surprise here, is there?

Hello and greetings! I am so glad to have found you. I have been an anti-imperialist since I was fourteen, and more recently I have been studying Marxism. Would you please subscribe me to your publications.

I am intrigued by your URL name “Prison Censorship” [www.prisoncensorship.info is the MIM(Prisons) web site]. Prison censorship has gotten out of control, especially here in Colorado. I should never have come to Colorado, this is truly the quintessential police state if I ever saw one. This is my first (and last!) trip to prison and I would have received probation for my first time offense in any of the prior states I have lived. They don’t screw with our political or religious mail here. That’s one of the only things the ACLU has ever done for us here. As payback, they terrorize all of our other mail and reject numerous legal and constitutionally protected correspondence.

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