Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Colorado Prisons

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. 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.

[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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[Censorship] [Education] [Fremont Correctional Facility] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 2]
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Winning censor battles in Colorado

Thank you for sending in your MIM Notes. We've played hell getting them in to Colorado D.O.C. They don't like your message of truth. Our mailroom here in Fremont Correctional Center likes to act as our moral censor. Every time you send your notes it has to go through our "reading committee." Every time they have to give it to us.

In Colorado D.O.C. we've paid very little for our slave labor. I'm glad to get your writing and I try to pass it on to others in here. The ideas spark some heated talks between us here. Your words to us in here can and do instigate some good thinking. Keep up your good work for us on the "inside". We are appreciative of you and look forward to your mailings.

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[Control Units] [U.S. Penitentiary Florence] [Federal] [Colorado]
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Thrown in segregation in Colorado

I am currently in segregation after a comical encounter with one of the federal guards here that took place on October 13, 2006, at 3:30am. Believe it or not, this clown enters my assigned cell where I had propped/tilted a small trash can on the door as an alarm device for unannounced intruders. This clown enters the cell without any type of announcement; he trips the device, and stumbles towards my bunk where I was in a dead sleep. My reaction was, I jumped directly up and got into a fighting position, he then throws a carton of milk at me, hitting me in the middle of my chest, and ran out of the cell. Then both of us screamed profanities back and forth for at least 30 minutes, while he was on the other side of the door of course. And as the norm they put me in segregation with a disciplinary infraction to follow. In the report/write-up, this clown says he felt threatened, and added that I had thrown an object at him that bounced back into the cell and that I came towards him with my fists clenched.

Now mind you, I'm at what has been deemed one of the deadliest prisons in the country, and this clown enters my cell without knocking on the door, or even calling out my name, he just comes into the cell, making all kinds of noise. Believe it or not, I've been in segregation ever since, awaiting a disciplinary transfer.

The Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO), as the norm, sided with the clown, holding that an officer upon hire takes an oath to be truthful. It didn't matter that he entered the cell without any authorization to do so, or the fact that he hit me in the chest with a carton of milk, I'm a prisoner, and he's a guard. To hell with my right to a fair process, as held in Wolff v. McDonnell, or due process right set forth under the constitution of the 5th amendment.

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[Control Units] [Medical Care] [US Penitentiary MAX] [Colorado] [Federal]
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Medical neglect in Colorado

One of the most alarming constitutional violations of prisoners' rights today is the denial of adequate psychological and medical treatment. In this prison alone, I have met dozens of inmates who have glaring psychological and medical problems. One quintessential case is the guy who literally tried to slice his genetalia off with a razor blade. This guy has also been kept in handcuffs and leg irons for several months, rather than be sent to a mental health facility. Keep in mind, while inmates at ADX are warehoused in the infamous "control unit," the unit where I am writing you from, it is prohibited to be prescribed psychotropic medication. Thus, guys who need psychotherapy in conjunction with psychotropic medication to function are not able to receive it while assigned to this unit. On average, inmates are serving four to eight years in this unit.

As for the inadequate medical treatment, the simplest way to describe this is as follows: for the entire prison complex of Florence, which consists of a camp, FCI, USP and the ADX Max Penitentiary, there is only one doctor and one dentist to service the entire complex. At ADX the doctor visits only one and one half days per week, and the dentist visits only twice per month. Thus, the waiting list to see either of them is astronomical. This comes as no surprise since there is over 2500 inmates living on this complex. I waited one year to receive my chronic care exam for Hep C. I also waited between 8 and 14 months to be seen by the dentist.

As a consequence of these egregious violations, I have filed two lawsuits since 1999. Twice now, media representatives, R. Scott Rappold, from the Gazette in Colorado Springs, and Henry Schuster, from 60 minutes, have contacted me in order to set up interviews with me at this prison. The prison rules clearly permit prisoners to have contact through visits and correspondence. However, the former must be approved by the Warden. So far, the warden has not approved a visit for me or any other inmate in the past nine years. Apparently, prison officials have something to hide. Even though in the prison regulations it states, we encourage inmates to maintain ties to the community, prison officials' actions speak otherwise.

Finally, it is good to read in the "Under Lock and Key" section that some brothers and sisters are still participating in the arduous yet all-important struggle for reform. Although not many are here in my midst, your publications apprise me that I am not alone.

As I sit here waiting for the seventh day to have photocopies made of legal papers with a June 19, 2007 deadline, I understand just how much patience and hard work is required to succeed against the American oligarchy.

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