Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Florida 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.

[Abuse] [Santa Rosa Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Beaten and violated in Florida, fighting back

I am at Santa Rosa, C.I. Today, I write you about a potential civil lawsuit on the basis of an eighth amendment violation of my constitutional rights. In short, I was brutally beaten, sprayed in my face with chemical agents, and sexually abused at Union C.I. on March 26th, 2018 by eight prison guards while I remained in handcuffs and leg irons.

The eight (8) prison guards at Union C.I. retaliated on my for filing grievances and discriminating against me. They beat me, gassed me in my nose, face, mouth, eyes, etc., and forced the handcuff leg iron shackle up my RECTUM into my buttock. I was screaming "PREA" while the cell extraction team held me down. In the shower, they covered my mouth, beating me with their fists and the handcuffs. Cruel punishment!

At this time, they lift me to my feet, bleeding from my rectum, and bleeding from my head, face, mouth, etc., pain in my neck, back, eyes burning, etc. They placed me in a cold cell, butt naked, a/c blowing, no mattress, no clothes, no toothbrush, no toothpaste, no toilet paper, no clothes, no drinking cups, no nothing. Nothing to keep warm and bean bags blocking my cell door to prevent me from receiving any of the above items. At present, great efforts are undertaken by medical personnel to cover up my abuse by falsifying medical records stating "no injuries identified". Trying to cover up for security, I then remained in my cell untreated, which is cruel and unusual punishment.

I am in chronic pain throughout the day and night. It is extremely difficult for me to get any sleep at night due to the excruciating pains in my rectum, my neck, back and body. I hear voices waking up in cold sweat like I'm being gassed and attacked all over again.

May it be noted that handcuffs and leg irons were on me during the entire merciless beating and sexual abuse.

I have begun the institutional grievance process by laying forth the foundation and facts of my case regarding this potential suit. At this point, I have done a lot of research on my own and try to contact people more familiar with the law and trying to get help to no avail. I am still being retaliated against and threatened that if I don't stop writing grievances and filing on this, I'm going to get fucked up. These ofc. are playing games with my mail, food, and threatening to strip me and gas me or set me up or have other ways to harm me.

I still can't find any help I need. I am not going to stop filing grievances. They violated my right and my body. I need legal help. This is not getting covered up.

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[Drugs] [Abuse] [Florida]
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Florida prisoners dealing drugs are doing the work of the pigs

I recently became involved with MIM (prisons) and wanted to write a report on some of the issues we are facing in prison. My state is Florida. There are some serious issues that are quite daunting but are able to be dealt with by true dialectical materialists.

The main issue is complacency among prisoners. Too many have become addicted to K-2 (synthetic marijuana) brought in by the pigs because they know it will make prisoners focus on getting these drugs rather than becoming united. The prisoners that work with the pigs by paying them for the K-2 then, in turn selling it to their fellow prisoners, are just as guilty and I also consider them pigs. It is to the point that twice a year for the past 3 years they have raised canteen prices and the prisoners have not said or done shit. A ramen soup costs $0.81 for one soup! While the food continues to be served in small portions or inedible (i.e. spoiled, uncooked).

I have already begun trying to reach individuals hooked on the K-2 and explaining what is really happening and how they are being fooled by chemical dependency to pay their oppressors giving them the means to further oppress them. While this works with maybe 1 out of 5 (I am not including people who relapse), I feel if I could truly reveal the truth they would shun the drugs. The pigs are smart. They make it seem like they don't want them smoking K-2 and the hard-asses that are "cracking down" are doing so just to sell it back to their inmate boot lickers.

They recently took all re-entry out of the budget for Florida prisons. So now all the people such as myself, who have been locked up for a considerable amount of time, do not have any means to a successful re-entry into society. For example, I have been locked up since 2009, from the age of 18 to 2022 (that's my early date), shortly before I turn 31. As you can imagine, there are many things I should be informed on. Some simple, some difficult. I have been doing my own research of my very limited resources trying to help myself and others like me and understand we (ex-cons) can get money from the government for different things. Obviously, I would love to exploit the exploiters and lead others to do the same. I am open to any and all suggestions.

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[Abuse] [Santa Rosa Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Denied food for being Muslim

I am writing you this letter to inform you of some important issues that I am dealing with at this institution. I filed a grievance on 5/24/18 because my breakfast meal for Muslims observing the fast for the month of Ramadan was late. So I requested to speak to the Sgt on duty. That's when Officer White and Officer Harvey both came to my cell door in G-Dorm. And once again I requested to speak to the Sgt because my food was late. Both officres made a statement that they didn't care if I didn't eat, because they didn't like Muslims because of 9/11. And that they were going to make sure that I pay the price for the lives lost at 9/11. As long as I am at Santa Rosa.

On 5/25/18 I filed another grievance because the next day after the prior incident my bag was not served to me so that I can have a meal to eat after breaking my fast. So, once the Lt. Was called to my cell he told me that the kitchen was closed. And, being that it was late, he didn’t have a key to the ktichen. So he could not get me something to eat. So, the results of this incident led to me not eating, after fasting the whole day. They violate my rights as a prisoner. The institution is responsible for feeding me my due meals. And, this is a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Along with religious discrimination. Both grievances are under investigation, by the inspector general.

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[Abuse] [Lowell Reception Center] [Florida]
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Retaliation and isolation for filing grievances to expose abuse at Lowell Reception Center

Thank you for your publication. I share it with others inside to report the horrific abuse I have suffered recently as retaliation for my federal complaint filed in the local court 4/3/18. On 4/10/18 the harassment started. I was denied my dinner tray and put on camera to be threatened with chemical agents by several staff, none of whom managed to feed me the food brought and prepared for me to consume. Then on April 14th I received 3 false disciplinary reports from different security staff, after none all year. This weekend I was not given the library books sent from the general library. The same officer, Ms Baez was eager to break the law to falsify state documents as leverage ordered by the mobsters in the management but could not feed me or hand me a library book while I am locked in a room. This same officer arranged for more than one inmate to get attacked with pepper spray while doing nothing wrong. The sadistic and malicious use of pepper spray has been reported at FDOC since at least 2007. This is all done on camera with audio evidence with none of the personnel worried that there will be any consequences for their criminal acts.

On April 19, while in the shower, the sergeant Ms Taylor went into my cell and threw out my hygiene supplies just given to me days prior, donated by the community. When I told her I was allowed to have those items and needed a property receipt, she ignored me and went to get the captain Harvey. While I was bathing and unclothed he came into the shower area and began to argue with me. This had all been done to provoke me just as the denial of my food had been done to provoke me. After I was placed in my cell, I was put on camera again to be threatened with chemical weapons warfare by Lt. Desmond, who had never come to my door before. After 10 pm I was taken from my cell again and strip searched in the shower, my room was ransacked and more of my property stolen including my new clothes given to me the day before by laundry. When I asked for my property receipt the officer Ms. Jorgensen rallied to report I was "on the door". Then a crew of several state workers paid to take care of me tortured me with chemical weapons warfare while I was in my cell not making a sound. My property was all taken away and most of it stolen or confiscated.

To deprive me of basic necessities, shampoo, dental floss, q-tips, vitamins and my legal notebook were taken. I was put in a cell with no bed roll, any of my hygiene or even extra clothes. I would not even brush my hair for days. My legal papers had all been handed off on March 22, 2018 to sabotage my post-conviction relief, crippling me of my ability to handle my legal work. The management had stolen my legal papers sent in to the law library to be copied and typed, then denied me law library access for months which was the subject of the complaint filed in April on Lowell Correctional Institute, the world's second largest prison for women.

On April 24th the same officer who refused to feed me earlier that month, Ms Baez, threw my tray on the floor, glared at me and headed off to report that I had thrown the tray at her. She had me served with a fake DR for battery. Again I was not fed. Between 4/14-4/28 I was served 12 disciplinary reports falsified by the state workers paid to take care of me and given months of "discipline" so I cannot use the phone, have a razor to shave, earn gain time, go to the dog room, have a visit or check out a book from the general library. My mother, 74 years old, was planning to drive 4 hours to visit me for 2 hours on 4/29 but could not because of the false reports issued by the sadistic sociopaths that gravitate to those jobs because they enjoy hurting people.

I received 2 more DRs in May while locked in a room from the state carrying out reprisal and pretending it is discipline. My grievances are mostly denied and when approved nothing really changes. The officer who threw my food on the floor was promoted to sergeant, her reward for following the orders to persecute me as punishment for exercising my right to access the courts to document the corruption at LCI.

Last year I was assigned several violent roommates at FWRC in Ocala to batter me for my grievances reporting the misconduct of officers at the WFRC. I was given 30 DRs December 2010 to November 2017, and all but 15 were overturned or dismissed through the government probes. The last roommate put me in the ER. She was sent to general population after putting more than one inmate at FWRC in the hospital and I was sent to closed management for more behavior "mediation" (for the 3rd time in 2012) on the pretense I am endangering the inmate population. This is just long-term solitary confinement torture that is expensive, does not improve anyone's behavior and causes irreparable psychological damage.

I am 41 years old and have hurt no one in or out of prison and did not all of the sudden become violent. I will have permanent scars on my face from the attack on me, all orchestrated by the management at FWRC intent on stifling my efforts to use the grievance process to report the rampant human rights violations in this penal system. The employees receive no discipline and have free reign to break the law to carry out reprisals at the taxpayer's expense. Many of my grievances are not responded to and what answers I get are full of lies to cover up the criminal acts of the personnel. I have a $65.00 lean on my account for postage, copies and typing fees as a result of seeking relief in the courts, with several courts sanctioning me to prevent me from exposing the corruption in the criminal justice system. No court has intervened as of yet with record numbers of inmate deaths since 2012 even with populations declining along with natural deaths plummeting.

Since 2010 I have received 109 disciplinary reports, hauled off to confinement 22 times, lost years of gain time and been kept locked in a room (at 2-3 times the cost to keep me in GP) about half this period. Blatant retaliation the FDOC pretending it is discipline to justify their wrongdoing. My correspondence to the FPLE, FBI, Florida State Police, Department of Justice, POTUS (2), U.S. Congress, Attorney Generals, U.S. commission on civil rights, Criminal Justice committees, governor, Chief In over Florida, Statewide prosecutor, Florida legislature, local police, local state attorney, etc. is largely ignored. I have spent nearly 13 years in Florida jails/prisons, wrongfully convicted, no attorney I have contacted has ever conducted any real investigation or intervened on my behalf. Each time I am taken to confinement or my property is stolen, gain time revoked, privileges denied and I am kept locked in a room for extended periods of time — days, weeks, months, and even years at a time. The commission on ethics refuse to send me completed forms and the FDOC refuses to notarize them to prevent me from filing complaints on the corrupt officials.

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[Economics] [Florida] [ULK Issue 62]
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Robbery by the FLDOC Canteen System

While reading a comrade's April 2017 SF Bay View, National Black Newspaper, I cam across an ad regarding the Texas prisoners' boycott of the prison commissary injustice.

This ad helped me realize that the unarmed robbery of the loved-ones of prisoners is not only a Florida atrocity, but a national occurrence. Prisoners in Texas and other states are being used as a means of robbing not only tax payers, but loved-ones of prisoners, who are constantly being punished for supporting prisoners financially and emotionally. The imperialist monopolizers are making hundreds of millions annually through the commissary system. I can't help but confirm and echo the main points of the Texas prisoners' ad:

  1. Sub-par and poor quality food items.
  2. Faulty electronics that regularly break (after short use).
  3. Tennis shoes which tear up after a week of use.
  4. Inflated prices and price gouging tactics.
  5. Abuse and disrespect from employees of commissaries.

All of the above mentioned is nothing but the truth to which I would love to add more. In Florida, specifically Charlotte Correctional Institution, there exists a staff canteen menu and a prisoner canteen menu. The double standard and financial discrimination can't help but be realized once both menus are compared. Prisoners are paying twice as much as staff for the same food items. Some of the most popular food items are listed below for your own concluding.

Charlotte CI staff canteen menu prices and Prisoner Canteen menu prices:

ItemStaff pricePrisoner price
sodas.56.99
honey buns .70 1.35
chips .5 .99-1.49
candy bars .75 1.39
water .5 .99
oatmeal .23 .53
poptarts .56 1.18
soups .56 .70
ice cream .93 2.19
danishes .7 1.28
nutty bars .47 1.00
saltines .7 .88 per sleeve
trail mix .47 1.00-1.28
BBQ sandwich 1.64 3.49
Pizzas 1.64 2.98
Tuna 1.87 2.47

The above list does not mention hygiene items. However, prisoners are paying exorbitantly for hygiene items that are clearly not worth their price. For example, the $4 deodorant from prescription care and Oraline-Seccure (meant for indigent prisoners) leaves prisoners musty in just a matter of hours. The $2.85 prescription care lotion is so generic it dries the skin quick as it moistens it. And it's definitely not meant for Black people. The $1.12 prescription care shampoo does not lather up and causes more dried scalp and itching than the state soap. There is 99-cent soap claiming to be anti-bacterial and 50-cent soap, both made by Silk. Neither of these soaps are worth even being given away for free.

Prisoners do not want these canteen items. They complain amongst each other but are too cowardly to write grievances or stop buying from canteen. We all know that it is our loved ones who are being attacked by the state. We all know our families who support us are being extorted, but the needle is just too deep in our veins. Florida only has one canteen vendor (Trinity) leaving us without options or other places to shop. We are simply victims of a monopoly and we are contributing to our own victimization.

It is quite clear that the canteen profits only benefit Trinity and high-ranking members of the state prison system. It is clear that the profits are being used against prisoners rather than for their welfare and genuine rehabilitation programs.

Even in the visiting park, freeworld citizens visiting their loved-ones are forced to pay prisoner canteen prices. This price-gouging is a war against the innocent citizens who support prisoners. It also results in the isolation of prisoners from the outside world and leaves prisoners dependent and vulnerable against the state.

One is left with no choice but the question: where is all the profit from the unarmed robbery of prisoners' loved ones? What is being done with these millions of dollars in profit? This matter must be investigated and objectively challenged. We prisoners surely need to stop perpetuating our own victimization by the state of Florida DOC.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer exposes one of the many ways that companies and individuals are making money from the prison system in this country. While overall the prisons are run at a financial loss, subsidized for most of their costs by state and federal funds (i.e. taxpayer money), lots of people are still making money off the operation of prisons.

Obviously the prisons' employees (COs, administrators, etc.) are earning a good salary and have an interest in keeping the system going. In some prisons medical is contracted out, and then there are the many companies that sell prisons all the stuff they need to run: from clothing to food to furniture to security equipment. Most of this is funded by a subsidy from the government.

But canteen is a case of the costs falling on prisoners' families. And this is just one of many costs borne by families of prisoners. As we exposed in an article in ULK 60 "MIM(Prisons) on U.$. Prison Economy - 2018 Update," mass incarceration costs families and the community $400 billion per year.

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[Abuse] [Florida]
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Polk County Jail starving prisoners

I read an article that was published in your paper Feb, 2018 about how sheriffs profit by starving Prisoners. Well, I got you one to look into. The only problem is any time the Fed’s have gone to check into him, somehow he gets tipped off. His name is Grady Judd and I was a inmate at his Jail for 8 months in 2007 and if I would not have had money, I would have starved to death like most of them do here. The inmates will hurry to sign a plea agreement so they can either go on probation or to prison so they will get a decent meal, you can get fed better at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter. I have met another inmate that just left the Polk County Jail and has informed me that it has gotten worse in 2017-2018.

What does he do with the tax payer’s dollars? He does not feed their families that are locked up in his Jail. We would like to know why his website says he feeds one thing but that does not show up on the trays. Put a plant inside and he or she would be able to do a great article on it.

Monday Breakfast:
Oatmeal
Piece of bolone
Piece of bread
Powder milk

Monday lunch:
Beans
Cracker
Bologna sandwich
Water

Monday Supper:
Chicken gravy with no chicken
Rice
Water

Tuesday Breakfast:
Meat flavored gravy with biscuit
Prunes
Powder milk

Tuesday Lunch:
Chicken salad
Sandwich
Cold Bean
Water

Tuesday Supper:
Mashed potato with Emoro pattie or? Spaghetti
Water

Wednesday Breakfast:
Oatmeal
Piece of Bolone
Piece of Bread
Powder milk

Wednesday lunch:
Beans
Crackers
Bologna sandwich
Water

Wednesday Supper:
Macaroni and hot dog
Corn, green beans
1 piece of Bread
Water

Thursday Breakfast:
Grits/Apple Sauce
Egg patti/Bologna
1 Piece bread
Powder milk

Thursday lunch:
Ham salad sandwich
Cold beans
Water

Thursday supper:
Burrito and rice
Or Egg roll and rice
Water

Friday Breakfast:
(SOS Tuesday)
Meat flavored gravy with biscuit
Prunes
Powder milk

Friday lunch:
Beans
Cracker
Bologna Sandwich
Water

Friday supper:
Ham sandwich no cheese
Grits
Water

SATURDAY and Sunday on Tray paper

PS Polk County also charges a $39.00 book in fee to pay for your underwear and hygiene kit, but you are not getting the underwear and cannot keep your own. More tax money missing. What is he doing with it?

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[Censorship] [Charlotte Correctional Institution] [Clallam Bay Correctional Facility] [Washington] [Florida] [ULK Issue 60]
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Censors in Their Own Words - January 2018

U.$. imperialist leaders and their labor aristocracy supporters like to criticize other countries for their tight control of the media and other avenues of speech. For instance, many have heard the myths about communist China forcing everyone to think and speak alike. In reality, these stories are a form of censorship of the truth in the United $tates. In China under Mao the government encouraged people to put up posters debating every aspect of political life, to criticize their leaders, and to engage in debate at work and at home. This was an important part of the Cultural Revolution in China. There are a number of books available that give a truthful account, but far more money is put into anti-communist propaganda. Here, free speech is reserved for those with money and power.

In prisons in particular we see so much censorship, especially targeting those who are politically conscious and fighting for their rights. Fighting for our First Amendment right to free speech is a battle that MIM(Prisons) and many of our subscribers waste a lot of time and money on. For us this is perhaps the most fundamental of requirements for our organizing work. There are prisoners, and some entire facilities (and sometimes entire states) that are denied all mail from MIM(Prisons). This means we can't send in our newsletter, or study materials, or even a guide to fighting censorship. Many prisons regularly censor ULK claiming that the news and information printed within is a "threat to security." For them, printing the truth about what goes on behind bars is dangerous. But if we had the resources to take these cases to court we believe we could win in many cases.

Denying prisoners mail is condemning some people to no contact with the outside world. To highlight this, and the ridiculous and illegal reasons that prisons use to justify this censorship, we will periodically print a summary of some recent censorship incidents in ULK.

We hope that lawyers, paralegals, and those with some legal knowledge will be inspired to get involved and help with these censorship battles, both behind bars and on the streets. For the full list of censorship incidents, along with copies of appeals and letters from the prison, check out our censorship reporting webpage.

Florida

Following up on our protest letters over the censorship of ULK 58, Dean Peterson, Library Services Administrator for the Florida DOC responded:

"The issue in question was impounded and the impoundment was subsequently reviewed by the Literature Review Committee on 11/15/2017, at which time the issue was rejected. This means it will not be allowed into any of our institutions. The stated reason was Florida Administrative Code (FAC) Ch. 33-501.401(3)(m), which states: 'It otherwise presents a threat to the security, order or rehabilitative objectives of the correctional system or the safety of any person.'"

Peterson went on to quote the mail rules on how publishers can obtain an independent review. But did not bother to respond to any of our arguments in our previous request for a review of this decision.

Florida - Charlotte Correctional Institution

In response to a grievance filed by a prisoner regarding lack of notification of censorship of eir Under Lock & Key, P. Vartiainen of the mail room wrote:
"If a publication is impounded or rejected, a notice will be given to you. Every issue of Lock & Key has been rejected by the State since January 2014. Notices have been given to all subscribers. There is no record of you subscribing to this publication. Your informal grievance is DENIED."

Washington - Clallam Bay Correctional Facility

CBCC also rejected ULK 59 "pending review" because it

"Contains articles and information on drugs in prisons and the cost comparison of inside and outside of prison as well as movement of drugs."
Not sure how that at all relates to the penological interests of the institution.

Washington - Stafford Creek Correction Center

A subscriber was given an official rejection notice, stating "Incoming newsletter containing indepth information on the drug problems and values of drugs within the correctional setting which is a security issue."(Vol. 59 pg1,4-7, 16 — File No. 18346) What is the security issue...?

Michigan - Marquette Branch Prison

"Under Lock & Key #59 will be rejected because the articles contain information about criminal activity that could promote uprisings, unrest and disruption within this facility. The entire publication has a 'revolutionary, protest, uprising' theme. There is also red ink on the back page that will be rejected because it cannot be searched thoroughly."

ULK readers know we do not print anything in colored ink, so red ink (if it really was there) is either from the post office or the mail room. Additionally, political or revolutionary content is illegal as grounds for censorship going all the way back to Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401.

Mississippi - South Mississippi Correctional Institution

A prisoner reports:

"The South Mississippi Correctional Institution has implemented practices by which ANY book sent to a prisoner for 'free' is censored, rejected, and returned to the sender. The rejection notices say only that 'free books are not allowed' and/or that 'inmates must pay for books.' There are 33 facilities housing MDOC prisoners and SMCI is the only prison doing this! This means that prisoners cannot benefit from any free books to prisoners programs. Some prisoners, including this writer, are challenging this practice via legal venues (i.e. grievances, potential lawsuit). Anyone wishing to protest this practice may do so by writing Superintendent Jacqueline Banks, PO Box 1419, Leakesville, MS 39451 or [email protected] If possible cc all letters to MDOC Commissioner Pelicia Hall, 633 N. State Street, Jackson, MS 39202 ([email protected])."


Read More Censorship Reports
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[Abuse] [Florida]
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Lonely and suffering in Florida

I am very grateful to be receiving "Under Lock & Key." I've just finished reading the Nov./Dec. 2017, No. 59. I agree with 90% of what I read. I noticed that Florida isn't listed in the data for any drugs.

We here are suffering the same oppression as every other state. We have another one they call molly. I myself am not using drugs. I sit back and watch how it affects the men around me. I attempt to talk to the men and some of them get in their feelings. It's a lost cause.

Majority of the men who use it is to escape the reality of their situation. Life is not easy at all on this side of the gates. In Florida we are offered nothing.

We do not have jobs. We have no opportunities. They offer us nothing. Especially if you are serving over ten years. We are sent to institution hours away from our families. If we attempt to voice our opinions or try to reach out to express ourselves about the oppression we face daily, by doing so we are putting our lives in danger.

A free world can't begin to imagine the pain we suffer in here. The loneliness of these prison cells. I have currently served 12.5 years behind these prison walls and gates. I have a 35 year sentence to serve.

I did something so stupid as a kid. Now here I am today as a man suffering for the actions of an immature kid. I'm 30 years old now. I cry out for help, pleading, and begging for one more chance only to be unheard.

I sit in this dorm all day all night praying that those I love are ok. Wishing I was there to hold them, love them, etc. My pain and suffering is unimaginable. Florida inmates do not have it easy at all. The reality is men are being released the same way they come in or worse. We are offered nothing.

My visions are so big. My desires to see D.O.C. change for the better is so great. I know I can't change everybody, but I don't want to go a day without at least trying. Men in here need education. They need opportunity.

Society looks down upon us and could care less about us but the reality is these men will be coming home. A few from every prison every day. We're locked in dorms all day and the only time we get to go outside is when we go out for chow time. We're lucky to get recreation 2 or 3 times a week for an hour at a time.

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[Censorship] [State Correctional Institution Camp Hill] [Bill Clements Unit] [Santa Rosa Correctional Institution] [Florida State Prison] [Jefferson Correctional Institution] [Coyote Ridge Corrections Center] [Richard A Handlon Correctional Facility] [Stateville Correctional Center] [Virginia] [Pennsylvania] [Texas] [Florida] [Washington] [Missouri] [Michigan] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 59]
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Censors in Their Own Words - November 2017

U.$. imperialist leaders and their labor aristocracy supporters like to criticize other countries for their tight control of the media and other avenues of speech. For instance, many have heard the myths about communist China forcing everyone to think and speak alike. In reality, these stories are a form of censorship of the truth in the United $tates. In China under Mao the government encouraged people to put up posters debating every aspect of political life, to criticize their leaders, and to engage in debate at work and at home. This was an important part of the Cultural Revolution in China. There are a number of books available in this country that give a truthful account, but far more money is put into anti-communist propaganda books. Here in the United $tates free speech is reserved for those with money and power.

In prisons in particular we see so much censorship, especially targeting those who are politically conscious and fighting for their rights. Fighting for our First Amendment right to free speech is a battle that MIM(Prisons) and many prisoners waste a lot of time and money on. For us this is perhaps the most fundamental of requirements for our organizing work. There are prisoners, and some entire prisons (and sometimes entire states) that are denied all mail from MIM(Prisons). This means we can't send in educational material, or study courses, or even supply a guide to fighting censorship. Many prisons regularly censor ULK claiming that the news and information printed within is a "threat to security." For them, printing the truth about what goes on behind bars is dangerous. But if we had the resources to take these cases to court we believe we could win in many cases.

Denying prisoners mail is condemning some people to no contact with the outside world. To highlight this, and the ridiculous and illegal reasons that prisons use to justify this censorship, we will periodically print a summary of some recent censorship incidents in ULK.

We hope that lawyers, paralegals, and those with some legal knowledge will be inspired to get involved and help us with these censorship battles, both behind bars and on the streets. For the full list of censorship incidents, along with copies of appeals and letters from the prison, check out our censorship reporting webpage.

Virginia DOC

The Chair of the publications review committee for the VA DOC, Melissa Welch, sent MIM(Prisons) a letter denying ULK 56, and then the next month the same letter denying ULK 57. Both letters cite the same reasons:

"D. Material, documents, or photographs that emphasize depictions or promotions of violence, disorder, insurrection, terrorist, or criminal activity in violation of state or federal laws or the violation of the Offender Disciplinary Procedure.

"F. Material that depicts, describes, or promotes gang bylaws, initiations, organizational structure, codes, or other gang-related activity or association."

Pennsylvania DOC

Last issue of ULK we reported on the censorship of ULK57 in Pennsylvania. After sending a protest letter to appeal the decision we had a rare victory! From the Policy Office, PA Department of Corrections:
"This is to notify you that the publication in issue does not violate Department Policy. As such, the decision of the correctional institution is reversed and the inmates in the PA Department of Corrections will be permitted to receive the publication. The correctional institutions will be notified by the Policy Office of the decision."

If anyone in PA hasn't received ULK 57 yet, let us know and we will send another copy to you.

Pennsylvania SCI-Camp Hill

From a prisoner we were forwarded a notice of incoming publication denial for ULK 57: "create a danger within the context of the correctional facility" p.21, 24

The description quotes sentences that can't be found within ULK including: "PREA system strip searches for harassment in PA", "Black prisoners deserve to retaliate against predominantly white ran system", and "This is a excellent reminder of PA importance of fighting." They are making up text as reasons for censorship in Pennsylvania.

Texas - Bill Clemens Unit

A prisoner forwarded us a denial for ULK 57 "Page 11 contains information that could cause a prison disruption."

In March 2017, our study pack Defend the Legacy of the Black Panther Party was censored for

"Reason C. Page 9 contains information that could cause a strike or prison disruption."
This adds to the growing list of our most important literature that is banned in the state forever, including Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat and [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlan. We need someone with legal expertise to challenge Texas's policies that allow for publications to be banned forever in the state.

Florida - Santa Rosa Correctional Institution

A prisoner forwarded us a notice of impoundment of ULK 57. The reason cited: "Pages 1, 11, 14, 15, & 17 advocates insurgency and disruption of institutional operations."

We appealed this denial and got a response from Dean Peterson, Library Services Administrator for the Florida DOC, reiterating the reasons for impoundment and upholding the denial: "In their regularly scheduled meeting of August 30, 2017 the Literature Review Committee of the Florida Department of Corrections upheld the institution's impoundment and rejected the publication for the grounds stated. This means that issue will not be allowed into our correctional institutions."

Florida DOC

Following up on a case printed in ULK 57 regarding Florida's denial of the MIM(Prisons) censorship pack, for no specific reasons. We received a response to our appeal of this case from the same Dean Peterson, Library Services Administrator, named above.

"From the number of the FDC form you reference and your description of what happened it is apparent the institutional mailroom did not handle the Censorship Guide as a publication, but instead handled it in accordance with the Florida Administrative Code rule for routine mail. As such, the item was not impounded, was not posted to the list of impounded publications for any other institution to see, was not referred to the Literature Review Committee for review, and thus does not appear on the list of rejected publications. That means that if the exact same Guide came to any other inmate mailroom staff would look at it afresh. In theory, it could even be allowed into the institution. ... "The Florida Administrative Code makes no provision for further review."

Florida - Florida State Prison

ULK 58 was rejected for what appears to just be a list of titles of articles, some not even complete:

PGS 6 Liberation schools to organize through the wall (talk about the hunger strikes)
PGS 8 DPRK; White Supremacy's Global Agenda
PGS 11 Case law to help those facing
PGS 19 White and gaining consciousness

Florida - Jefferson Correctional Institution

Meditations on Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth: New Afrikan Revolutionary Writings by James Yaki Sayles was denied to a prisoner at Jefferson Correctional Institution because "inmate has received a second copy of the same edition of this publication violating chapter 33-501.401 (16)(b) and procedure 501.401(7)(d)."

Washington state - Coyote Ridge CC

The invitation to and first assignment for our correspondence introductory study group was rejected by Mailroom Employee April Long for the following reasons:

"Advocates violence against others and/or the overthrow of authority.
Advocates that a protected class or group of individuals is inferior and/or makes such class/group the object of ridicule and/or scorn, and may reasonably be thought to precipitate a violent confrontation between the recipient and a member(s) of the target group. Rejected incoming mailing from MIM. Mailing contains working that appears to be referring to law enforcement as 'pigs' it appears to be ridiculing and scornful. There is also a section in mailing labeled solutions that calls prisoners to take actions against prison industries and gives specific ideas/suggestions. Nothing to forward onto offender."

A recent study assignment for the University of Maoist Thought was also censored at Coyote Ridge. MIM(Prisons) has not yet been informed of this censorship incident by the facility. The study group participant wrote and told us it was censored for being a "copy of copyrighted material." The material in question was published in 1972 in the People's Republic of China. Not only did that government actively work against capitalist concepts such as copyright, we believe that even by the United $tates' own standards this book should not be subject to censorship.

Washington state

Clallam Bay CF rejected ULK 58 because: "Newsletter is being rejected as it talks about September 9 events including offenders commencing a hunger strike until equal treatment, retaliation and legal rights issues are resolved."

Coyote Ridge CC rejected ULK 58 for a different set of reasons: "Contains plans for activity that violates state/federal law, the Washington Administrative Code, Department policy and/or local facet/rules. Contains correspondence, information, or other items relating to another offender(s) without prior approval from the Superintendent/designee: or attempts or conveys unauthorized offender to offender correspondence."

Canada

We received the following report from a Canadian prisoner who had sent us some stamps to pay for a few issues of ULK to be mailed to Canada.

"A few months ago, on July 18, I received notice from the V&C department informing that five issues of ULK had arrived here for me. The notice also explained that the issues had been seized because of a Commissioner's Directive (764.6) which states that '[t]he institutional head may prohibit entry into the institution of material that portrays excessive violence and aggression, or prison violence; or if he or she believes on reasonable grounds that the material would incite inmates to commit similar acts.' I grieved the seizure, among other things, citing the sections on page 2 of ULK, which 'explicitly discourage[s prisoners] from engaging in any violence or illegal acts,' and citing too the UFPP statement of peace on page 3, which speaks of the organizational aim to end needless conflicts and violence within prisons.

"Well, I can now report that my grievance was upheld and that all copies of ULK were released to me, but not without the censorship of drawings deemed to portray or promote the kind of violence described in the above-cited Commissioner's Directive. It's a decision I can live with for now."

Missouri

We got reports from two people that the blanket ban on ULK in Missouri was removed and ULK 58 was received. If you're in Missouri and still not getting your ULK, be sure to let us know.

Michigan - Richard A Handlon CF

ULK 58 was rejected because "Articles in Under Lock & Key contains information about criminal activity that might entice criminal activity within the prison facility - threat to security."

Illinois - Stateville CC

ULK 58 was rejected because: "The publication appears to: Advocate or encourage violence, hatred, or group disruption or it poses an intolerable risk of violence or disruption. Be otherwise detrimental to security, good order, rehabilitation, or discipline or it might facilitate criminal activity or be detrimental to mental health. Detrimental to safety and security of the facility. Disrupts order. Promotes organization and leadership."


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[Abuse] [Florida]
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Prisoner killed by guards; officers fake scene to deflect blame

I'm in (C.M.) Closed Management for attacking 5 officers, after smoking a substance known as K2, they tell me I whacked out. I don't remember nothing, anyways I no longer do that drug (any drugs).

I recently got another roommate, he came in on Friday 20th 2017. He said he left here 2 weeks ago for a hernia operation, but was sent back before he even seen the doctor. Lake Butler is a medical facility, where all inmates go to have operations done.

Prior to him leaving (RMC) he said on Wednesday 18th 2017 a white male around 30-40 years of age in K dormitory wing 3 room 3117 declared a psychological emergency and was screaming, crying, and kicking on the door. At approximately 6:30pm a lieutenant, sergeant and 3 other officers came into the wing with the shields to do an extraction, however this was done without a camera, when the cell door opened they rushed in and the man that was screaming began to gag like he was being choked. A few minutes gone by and there was total silence, the 5 officers walked out the cell and relocked the cell door and one of the officers said, "now if you continue this disruptive behavior we will be back".

An hour later one of the same officers came back and did a round, when he got to 3117 he stopped and was like "hey, whats wrong with you, what did you do to yourself" over and over, saying this very loudly. He then radioed to whomever and the same lieutenant and sergeant showed up. When they arrived they called the nurse. 2 female nurses came and tried to resuscitate him. When they wheeled him out on the stretcher his whole head was deep purple, eyes and mouth wide open. He had been dead since they left him in there over an hour ago because there was (NO) noise coming from his room, after they entered. They killed him, even the inmate that is directly across the hall said that the man had shitted all over himself. This same inmate was either transferred or moved to another dorm within an hour of this incident.

Around 9-10pm an officer sat in a chair directly in front of the room acting like he was there for a suicide watch. This is only done when there is an actual person in the room who is threatening to hurt himself, so the only thing we can come up with is that these officers are trying to cover up this murder by re-enacting the crime scene. What other purpose is to guard an empty room, not empty of the dead man's property but empty of life.

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