Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Colorado State Penitentiary - Colorado

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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.

[Organizing] [Political Repression] [Colorado State Penitentiary] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 64]
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Shower Power in Colorado

On 14 May 2018, after seven days of being on lockdown and receiving one shower, 6 prisoners at the Colorado State Penitentiary (CSP) in the Management Control Unit covered their windows in protest and demanded they be given showers. The administration argued that they had been taken off lockdown on May 12, and therefore were not due showers.

On May 12, the facility had been taken off lockdown for 10 minutes and as soon as the doors opened multiple prisoners began fighting and the facility immediately went back on lockdown not ten minutes later leaving prisoners without a chance to take showers since May 10th. Colorado's policy is that prisoners get a chance to shower every 72 hours.

At CSP each tier has 8 cells housing one prisoner each, 2 tiers per pod and 8 pods per unit. Six out of 8 prisoners all agreed to protest by covering their windows. Rather than allow the prisoners the human dignity of a shower, the cell extraction team was deployed, and a chemical weapon known as FOXISPRA Jet Oleoresin Capiscum (O/C) spray was applied. This caused several of the prisoners, including the author who has respiratory issues and is "O/C restricted" yet was still sprayed, to pass out. Apparently to Colorado DOC, being unconscious is considered resting. As usual staff tailored the reports to fit their needs, each prisoner was given disciplinary charges and monetary fines of $117, most of which was for one time use items that should have been split six different ways.

Sadly, the goal was not accomplished, however the 6 were allowed to shower to remove the O/C spray. The bright side is that solidarity such as this is on the rise in higher security prisons in Colorado, and this story has been circulating around the facility with high regard.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Building unity around common oppression is an important part of organizing behind bars. When people start to come together to demand their basic rights, they also start to see the power of this unity. Revolutionaries can build on this unity by helping folks to see how these individual situations of oppression are tied to the broader criminal injustice system. And making these connections we can start talking about what we need to do to fight back on a broader scale. Lots of people report their political awakening going back to persynal experiences of oppression, coupled with revolutionaries helping them see the ties to the broader system of oppression. United Struggle from Within comrades can play this leadership role by starting from where people are at and building with them.

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[United Front] [Idealism/Religion] [Colorado State Penitentiary] [Colorado]
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Breaking the Colorado Ad-Seg Cycle of Violence

Less than a week ago I progressed from Colorado's control units (or what our lying Governor called "restrictive housing") to the new maximum custody status. For a step into progress it feels like regression. Guards not only disrespect you blatantly, but come up with ways to make slick comebacks to our most basic requests. The deal is this: we are one foot out of segregation with one foot still in. If we mess up here, we will be sent back to the hole. And the guards are creating more hostile environments to get us to combat one another. Revolutionary education has never been more needed.

A few days ago, a New Afrikan and a Chicano got into a fight. The fight really wasn't more than a two-punch-it's-over type of thing; both individuals hit each other one time. But that triggered a wave of 30+ guards to our unit that at the time only had five people there! Two guards came in with shotguns that were loaded with rubber bullets, which do penetrate skin. This is new. Pepper spray was once used to end fights.

Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Rick Raemisch implemented new measures to rid the state of administrative segregation. But what this really did was create new titles for the same program. Only now, what little comfort we had is now all gone: food items off canteen gone, all tea, kool-aid, and other comfort items are gone. TVs now will be given after 90 days. So even if you've completed your punitive time from your other facility, it doesn't count when you arrive in solitary at Colorado State Penitentiary.

Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) has effectively created one of the most intensively repressive systems Colorado has ever seen. Mr. Raemisch has instated runaway wardens to create lockdowns and other tensions at these places.

In the United States of Amerikkka there is no such thing as rights, only power struggles. I've not seen a yard in a year. I've spent this time trying to educate myself so that I will be ready to educate my people when I finally do get to a yard. Colorado isn't a place where there are very many hard followed political lines. Unlike California, nations aren't necessarily separated. It makes Colorado a prime spot to build peace among people to pave the way for better living.

It angers me how many "spiritualists" fight demons in the spiritual realm while waiting for a higher power to step in. I feel that all religion, with the exception of militant political Islam, encourages people to just accept their society as it is and do absolutely nothing to change it. These same spiritualists should invest time in changing these conditions in the physical realm to free all oppressed people now, and who knows maybe it will bring about a better world. Those who, through fear or fucked up character, embrace organized religion in prison to cop out or find some sense of self, need to find some sense of reality. These places get worse until we unite and make them better. This requires structure, discipline, leadership and hierarchy. There is no other way.

New blood must be given to this system. Education is the key to make any situation better.


MIM(Prisons) adds: To create conflict and excuses for repression we see prison workers set up conflicts between different nations. Just like this fight between a [email protected] and New Afrikan, it could be over anything but the prison has an interest in promoting division between prisoners. This is just one reason why we need a United Front for Peace in Prisons. This United Front is building peace and unity among the oppressed in prison, and then turning that unity into growth through revolutionary education. Together we can take a stand against the criminal injustice system.

While we agree with this comrade that religion is used as an excuse to wait for a higher power to bring change, we do see a role for religious groups in the United Front. Those who truly believe in putting an end to people's suffering should step up and take a role in organizing against the oppressors. The liberation theologists in that were very popular in the 1980s in Latin America provide a solid example for this revolutionary organizing. They broke with the individualism of religions that calls all outcomes "fate" and leaves people to pray for a change that will only come through action. While Maoists are scientists who do not believe in the idealism of religion, we will not force these views on others who take up the struggle on behalf of the oppressed. We expect scientific thinking to spread to all people over time once the oppressed have been liberated and given a chance to learn and think freely.

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