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] [Florida]
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You can't imagine how bad it is behind bars

Unless you are a person who has been incarcerated in a U.S. prison, you don’t know about the violence that is being done to inmates at the hands of correctional officers or prison guards across this country. There are many TV programs about prison life but I’ve seen none show the abuse that is inflicted on prisoners. Being in prison for 13 years or more, I’ve witnessed these atrocious acts first hand. One would think if a prison officer had to use force against a prisoner it was warranted, but many times that isn’t the case.

Before I came to prison I was told by many convicted felons how correctional officers would beat the living daylight out of a prisoner over a minor offense. It was hard for me to believe until I saw it for myself.

When I first arrived at the prison reception center, they made me and all the new prisoners get butt-naked to be searched for drugs or weapons. We had to bend over and spread our butt cheeks. The guy next to me didn’t spread his open enough for the officer to see so he kicked him right in his gluteus maximus. The officers had prisoners that looked like professional bodybuilders working for them that they would use to beat up other prisoners.

A week after that, about eight prison officers beat up a 60 year old man just because he cursed out a female sgt. The female sgt hit him with her radio first which knocked him to the ground. Then the other officers started punching and kicking him. Two of those officers stopped just to make us prisoners turn around and not watch what they were doing. The old man could not have weighed more than 130 pounds. It could not have been nothing short of a miracle if he survived that attack. There were so many killings at that reception center that the feds had to go in to investigate.

When I was transferred to my main prison camp, things were different. They weren’t killing inmates there, but the brutality was just as bad. That camp was run by racist officers and it was not secret how blacks were being ridiculed, beaten, and discriminated against there. Blacks had to deal with physical and emotional abuse. It was nothing for an officer to call a black prisoner a nigger or say some thing about his mother. These were the tactics they used to set the prisoner off. Then they felt they could be justified for using force. Prisoners like me wouldn’t take the bait, but many did. White prisoners and prisoners of other races got abused also.

At other prison camps I’ve been to, the need for the officers to beat on a prisoner wasn’t racially motivated. The violent abuse was equally passed around. I saw a Hispanic guy get kicked in his rectum just because he forgot to take off his hat when he was going through a gated area. I saw a white guy get his head busted open by an officer because he was high on synthetic marijuana. And in another incident an officer was beating a guy so bad that another officer had to pull him off the guy, then they started fighting each other afterwards. I overheard the captain telling them that they should never fight each other because it was "them against us."

The worst of the brutality comes to the prisoners that are in confinement. When a prisoner is being too rowdy in confinement the captain will spray a very strong chemically enhanced mace into his locked room. Prisoners have died because of this. They will also drop a handcuffed inmate down stairs and say he slipped or that the inmate pulled away from them. The beatings come when the officer has a prisoner out of the sight of cameras. Many prisoners are missing teeth and it’s not because of tooth decay.

The sad part of this all is that it’s been going on forever and there's no end in sight of it stopping. When we grieve these issues our grievances taste the bottom of a trashcan or a shredder. Other times they simply are denied. Since we are convicted felons our words don’t mean anything. Some prison guards commit more crimes than us convicts. It hurts me because it's nothing I can do to stop it. All I can do is hope that one day god answers my prayers. Prison brutality is real, and more people in society should be aware of this problem.

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[Abuse] [Union Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Guards still beating prisoners in Florida

Greetings comrades! I’m writing to report the events that have transpired through the middle of June. On June 17, 2017 at approximately 3:50pm eight correctional officers were witnessed jumping on a prisoner in handcuffs in the middle of the compound. Medical staff had to wheel that prisoner out on a stretcher. Turns out that prisoner was affiliated to the Bloods and on June 21 at first work call multiple members of the Bloods began attacking officers for their involvement in the beating.

As of now we are on a level 3 lockdown while administration tries to sort this mess out. Warden Blackwood knows his officers are responsible yet he continues to allow them to put hands on prisoners while administration covers up their dirty work. Grievances are a joke; no matter what level we file them to they will still be denied and beatings will continue.

Last year I wrote in about the brutal response on Gulf Annex to peaceful protesters. It was because of these same beatings that took place last year why prisoners at Gulf Annex had a sit down. Nothing has changed here but a calendar, until Warden Blackwood and his entire administration team are fired and replaced we will continue to suffer abuse from the hands of these pigs. We need help from the outside world by publishing these events to shed some light on what's really going on at Gulf Annex. Responding to violence with violence is not the answer. All the loved ones we have in the free world aren't making much a difference with they phone calls and their concerns for our well being. Maybe if the Feds looked into all these brutal attacks being swept under and start arresting these officers they'd think twice about jumping on prisoners.

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[United Front] [Gulf Correctional Institution Annex] [Florida] [ULK Issue 57]
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Building Peace and Unity in Florida

solidarity

I'm writing you this letter in regards to trying to build peace and unity between the prisoners here at Gulf Annex. Same thing the guards don't want to happen here because there is power in numbers. I represent Growth & Development and recently one of my brothers had gotten into a fight with a Muslim over a petty issue. As we met up to find out what was the problem and try to work things out peacefully the guards broke up our little circle making comments like "you pick them I spray them." Sad to say we all laid down and went to our dorms.

Luckily we came to agreement to peace treaty, but if the pigs had it their way they'd be happy if we just killed each other. Sorry to say Florida prisons are probably the worst in the country when it comes to unity. Prisoners are quick to jump on each other over nothing, but won't stand up when they witness fellow prisoners being beaten, messed up, while in handcuffs.

ULK and have been passing them around. I have been trying to pass them to those who want to educate others, but I can only reach so many with issues I have. So I'm urging prisoners around the compound to subscribe to ULK so we can reach more prisoners in other dorms. Over the next couple of weeks you will be hearing from those wishing to have their own subscription. It's time for a change in Florida prisons and educating ourselves through MIM(Prisons) and ULK could be the start of something that will unite us. Now a couple of my brothers say they've wrote MIM but yet to receive a subscription. It can't be the pigs because I've received everything y'all ever sent me. So if anybody writes please send them a subscription.

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[Abuse] [Medical Care] [Santa Rosa Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Pigs Leave Dead Prisoner in Cell

I want to inform you of an inhumane act that took place here at this institution, where the pigs here let a comrade die. It took place on 29 May 2017 at approximately 1 p.m. Other comrades kept informing the pigs that the comrade in cell F-1121 was in his cell dead. But the pigs that were working at that time didn't do anything, nor did they try to contact medical. Comrades informed the pigs when they went to shower because you could smell the odor. But the pigs laughed and said that he was still alive. That he just urinated and defecated on himself. Because the pigs ordered the comrade to put on hazard suits to put him in a wheelchair and give him a shower the Friday prior. Because the nurses here refuse to bathe him. And he was in this condition for a while at that time.

The only thing that sent the pigs in his room along with medical was that the comrades seen the Lieutenant leaving out this dorm. And the comrades began to scream out their windows. Telling the Lieutenant that the comrade in F-1121 was in his cell dead. That's when the Lieutenant ordered medical to bring him out of his cell. Once, the medical examiners came to take pictures of his cell. That's when it was confirmed that he was in his cell dead. But, the fact of the matter is that the blame falls on the medical department here. Because they were negligent on sending him to the proper institution to accommodate his medical needs. But they were so concerned about keeping him housed in a CM unit (close management) so that they could continue to receive funds for housing him.

So this goes to show you that these pigs cause injustice to us each and every day. And nothing is being done about it. Stories like these need to be told. So that we can put a stop to the modern day torture.

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [Political Repression] [Gulf Correctional Institution Annex] [Florida] [ULK Issue 54]
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Brutal Response to September 9 Work Stoppage at Gulf CI Annex

It's been rough these past couple months at Gulf Correctional Institution Annex, that is ever since prisoners attempted to have a non-violent sit down. On 8 September 2016 Administration walked around to every dorm stating "We going to treat a non-violent sit down just like a violent one." When it came to awaken A.M. food service workers to report to work, all prisoners sat on their bunk in silence. At approximately 2:05AM administration gave a final call in L-Dorm for food service workers to report to their assigned post for work. Every prisoner refused to leave the dorm and sat on their bunk.

Once the sun began to rise prisoners became aware of the large number of heavily armed Rapid Response Team (RRT) officers in full body armor marching towards L-Dorm. A sledgehammer came crashing through two open bay windows. Once an opening was cleared, officers armed with 12 gauge shot guns started aiming on those prisoners sitting on their bunks in L-Dorm. Warden Blackwood ordered all prisoners to lay on their bellies with their hands on head. The warden ordered officers to switch to live rounds, safeties off, any prisoner gets off his bunk shoot to kill.

Once the prisoners in K-Dorm and Q-Dorm witnessed how Administration and RRT members was mistreating prisoners in L-Dorm they started standing up against our oppressors. RRT members smashed out a window in K-Dorm and deployed Pepperball Launching System (PLS). RRT members began extracting K-Dorm prisoners, zip tieing them, and emergency shipping those prisoners. While in Q-Dorm prisoners were ordered to go into their cells and close the doors, RRT entered Q-Dorm using Pepperball Launching System (PLS), noise flash distraction devices, and stinger rubberball grenades.

One prisoner was disabled and confined to a wheelchair due to having only one leg. This Muslim disabled prisoner had a stinger rubberball grenade explode under the wheelchair. Officers days later was heard bragging how it launched the prisoner out of his wheelchair and into a cell! While in L-Dorm hours went by laying on bellies, prisoners were denied restroom privileges and forced to urinate into empty powerade bottles or on the floor next to their bunk. Only times prisoners had permission to sit up was when bag lunches arrived during breakfast, lunch and dinner. No drink was provided at any meal to prevent dehydration. Prisoners began to beg for water around evening. Captain Shwarz followed by armed RRT members entered L-2. Captain Schwarz had a 9mm handgun in his hand, walked up to the prisoner who had been requesting water out the window, leveled the handgun on the inmate and threatened to blow his head off if he did not cease his actions. Prisoner was then zip tied and escorted to confinement.

The following day inmates was rounded up and placed in Q-Dorm which became Emergency Confinement. Administration rounded up the majority of prisoners who had ties to one affiliation or another. This was administration's excuse for their excessive force used. The gangs didn't force prisoners to participate in the sitdown but as far as the warden was concern that's who the blame was going to fall on. Prisoners in Emergency Confinement were placed under investigation, given falsified disciplinary reports, unjustly use of force in the form of CS gas, placed in scalding hot showers for decontamination, escorted back to the same cell that had not been decontaminated, forced to sleep on steel + concrete for 63.5 hours, and had suffered a beating from the hands of officers.

All prisoners in Q-Dorm have been shipped after 60 days. Only 18 prisoners remain now, and have been escorted to P-Dorm regular confinement. I am the prisoner who suffered beating from Sergeant Kirk who was escorting me to rec. Captain Schwarz told Sergeant Kirk to "take care that little bitch for me." Once outside and out the view the camera Sergeant Kirk struck me in the back of the head with a closed fist, slammed me viciously to the ground, elbowed me to the back the head, while trying to force my hands above my head in handcuffs. I don't know why out of the hundred some prisoners in Emergency Confinement that I was left behind and not transferred. As of now I've been sentenced to 150 days disciplinary confinement, my DR's consist of "Refuse to Work," "Participating in Minor Disturbance," "Gang Related Activity," and "Disorderly Conduct." My grievances are being trashed and I expect more hands-on retaliation upon my release from confinement. This is all results of September 9th at Gulf Correctional Institution Annex.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We've printed a lot of reports about the protests on September 9, both as part of the United Front for Peace in Prisons Day of Peace and Solidarity, and part of the broader work strike. It is good to hear more details about the unity and struggle put into action on that day. We also want to publicly document that brutal, terroristic and illegal behavior of Florida DOC staff towards the peaceful protesters at Gulf CI Annex. Humyn rights in action in the United $tates of Amerikkka.

It is not surprising that the prison administrators blame lumpen organizations (LOs) for the action. Although LOs in some prisons serve a negative role by pitting prisoners against each other, in many places they have taken a positive role and stepped up to push unity and struggle against the criminal injustice system. The potential for these organizations of oppressed nations, which already have a strong cadre and the ability to quickly mobilize many, is correctly identified as a threat by the administration. And it is our job as revolutionaries to help members push these organizations towards progressive action.

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[Censorship] [Union Correctional Institution] [Florida] [ULK Issue 54]
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Florida Prison Ban on MIM Pubs

Please be advised that Florida Department of Corrections has banned all MIM publications. At this time I'm not able to file an informal or formal grievance or appeal as to do so will result in immediate property and mail restriction with a stretch of disciplinary confinement to back it up. Enclosed are the latest rejection slips.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We are seeing many rejections from Florida prisons, although ULK is still getting in to a few folks. We need jailhouse lawyers who are being censored in Florida who can help take up this fight through the grievances and into the courts. Your work will impact many in this state with so many people behind bars. Get in touch with us if you can take up this censorship battle. And for anyone on the streets reading this, we really need lawyers who can support these lawsuits from the outside. Check out our extensive documentation of censorship in Florida (and elsewhere) from our Amerikan Censorship Documentation Project

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[Spanish] [Censorship] [Hamilton Correctional Institution] [Florida] [ULK Issue 52]
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El instituto correccional Hamilton rechaza todo el correo de MIM(Prisiones)

Un mes atrás enviamos una tanda de correo a los participantes del grupo de estudio introductorio en el MIM(Prisiones). Era la primera tanda de correo de la nueva sesión e incluía una tarea de lectura y algunas preguntas.

Recibimos muchos rechazos sobre este correo de las prisiones de Florida, en particular desde el Instituto Correccional Hamilton, en donde a todos los nuevos participantes se les devolvió su correo con un *recibo de retorno por correo no* *autorizado* que cita razones que incluyen: "amenaza a los objetivos de seguridad, orden o rehabilitación, o a la seguridad de las personas. Representa, describe o alienta actividades que pueden llevar al uso de la violencia física o desorganización grupal. Alienta a que se lleven a cabo actos delictivos." De hecho, a una de estas personas también se le envió un *formulario de correo sin confirmar* que enumeraba las cartas que nosotros les habíamos enviado hace poco, y esta carta también fue enviada, ¡citando las mismas razones! Está claro que la sala de correo en el Instituto Correccional Hamilton ni siquiera se preocupa por leer las cartas de MIM(Prisiones) antes de devolvérnoslas.

Como respuesta a esta censura, a estas personas les enviamos una copia de nuestra guía de seis páginas para luchar contra la censura. Este documento contiene consejos legales y administrativos para apelar a la injusta negación de correo. Inmediatamente, se nos devolvió 17 sobres (anticipamos que lo que sobra será devuelto pronto), junto con otro *recibo de retorno por correo no autorizado* por parte del personal de la sala de correo, que indicaba que esta había sido rechazada porque:

  • "De otro modo representa una amenaza a la seguridad, orden, u objetivos de rehabilitación del sistema de correccional, o a la seguridad de cualquier otra persona."
  • "Representa, describe o alienta actividades que pueden llevar al uso de la violencia física o desorganización grupal."

  • "Alienta o instruye en la comisión de actividades delictivas."
La carta en cuestión contiene citas legales y pautas de políticas de apelación administrativas. Este tema claramente no está relacionado con la violencia o seguridad de una prisión. No hay nada en esta carta que se pueda interpretar como que representa o alienta a la violencia o desorganización grupal. Y definitivamente no tiene nada que aliente o instruya a cometer delitos. Hemos enviado una apelación al alcaide de Hamilton pero no somos optimistas dado que incidentes similares en Florida se han chocado contra paredes de silencio o de negación de nuestras demandas sin razón.

Necesitamos un abogado para que nos ayude con esta pelea en Florida, pero hasta ahora, ninguna firma de abogados ha estado dispuesta a aceptar este importante caso. Tenemos compañeros que conocen muy bien la ley que pelea contra esta censura, pero es muy difícil coordinar nuestro trabajo cuando nada de nuestro correo ni siquiera les llega a estos activistas.

Casos como estos deberían enfurecer, incluso a aquellos que creen en Amérika como una sociedad justa. Es obvio que no hay justicia en la negación de material educativo y recursos legales a los prisioneros. Y este tipo de acción expone claramente la mentira de la rehabilitación que el sistema pretende apoyar. Las personas con acceso a internet pueden buscar en la web estos y otros casos de censura en nuestro sitio www.prisoncensorship.info/data.

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[MIM(Prisons)] [Censorship] [Hamilton Correctional Institution] [Florida] [ULK Issue 52]
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Hamilton Correctional Institution Refuses All MIM(Prisons) Mail

A month ago we sent out a batch of mail to participants in the MIM(Prisons) introductory study group. It was the first mailing of the new session and included a reading assignment and some study questions. We got a lot of denials of this mail from Florida prisons, in particular at Hamilton Correctional Institution where all new participants had their mail returned with an Unauthorized Mail Return Receipt citing reasons that included: “Threat to security, order or rehab objectives, or to safety of any person. Depicts, describes or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption. Encourages commission of criminal acts.” In fact one of these people was also sent an Unconfirmed Mail Form that just listed the letters we had sent em recently, and this letter was also sent back to us, citing these same reasons! Clearly the mail room at Hamilton CI isn't even bothering to read the letters from MIM(Prisons) before returning them to us.

In response to this censorship we sent all these folks a copy of our six page guide to fighting censorship. This document contains legal and administrative tips for appealing unjust denial of mail. Immediately 17 envelopes were returned to us (we anticipate the remainder will be returned soon), with another “Unauthorized Mail Return Receipt” from the mailroom staff indicating this letter was denied because:

  • "Otherwise presents a threat to the security, order, or rehabilitative objectives of the Correctional system, or to the safety of any person"
  • "Depicts, describes or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption"
  • "Encourages or instructs in the commission of criminal activity"
The letter in question contains legal citations and administrative policy appeal guidelines. This subject matter is clearly not related to violence, security or safety of a prison. There is nothing in this letter that could remotely be construed to depict or encourage violence or group disruption. And it certainly has nothing encouraging or instructing commission of crimes. We have sent an appeal to the Warden of Hamilton but aren't optimistic as similar incidents in Florida have just run into brick walls of silence or denials of our claims without reason.

We need a lawyer to help take on this fight in Florida, but so far no law firms have been willing to take up this important case. We do have some comrades who are very savvy with the law fighting this censorship, but it's very difficult to coordinate our work when none of our mail can even get in to these activists.

Cases like this should outrage even those who believe in Amerika as a just society. It is obvious that there is no justice in the denial of educational material and legal resources to prisoners. And this sort of action exposes clearly the lie of rehabilitation that the system pretends to support. People with access to the internet can browse these and other censorship cases on our website at www.prisoncensorship.info/data

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[Medical Care] [Graceville Correctional Facility] [Florida]
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Medical Negligence and another Prisoner Death

Here's one example of a female officer with the last name of Paramore. A guy goes up to the front of the dorm and pushes the intercom to the officers station. His last name is Welch and he's handicapped (having one leg) and in a wheelchair. The officer asks what he wants and he says he can't breath. After getting out of the dormitory another inmate asked CO Paramore if he should push him in his wheelchair to medical. She states: "No, he can push himself." He makes it to medical (with some assistance) and a nurse asks him "what's your problem?" Well, if he could've answered he would've said, "Who? Me? My problem is: I'm dead." Yes, he died. Ms. Paramore doesn't work in our dormitory anymore - but she's still working and in another housing unit.

And by the way, I had to go to confinement and now I know what Pelican Bay torture is like. The officers there went by clicking, beeping, and closing doors there every 25-30 minutes! So, I feel for y'all in Pelican Bay.

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[Abuse] [Hamilton Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Hamilton CI Abuse by Officer Covered Up

On 18 May between 9 and 9:30 a.m. I was being taken out of my cell in confinement, to be seen for a medical check up. I was handcuffed by officer Smith and along side him was officer Horn. Now as the door rolled open, I stepped out of my cell and immediately turned to officer Smith and asked him would he please escort me downstairs instead of officer Horn, who in the past I and other inmates have had problems with.

At this time officer Horn reached out his right arm, roughly grabbed me by my arm and snatched me away from officer Smith and said "I don't have time for this bullshit." Then he started pushing me towards the front of the top tier while repeatedly banging me up against the wall and all doors as we went along.

Officer Horn became more and more aggressive as we neared the cat walk in wing II, and at the same time I was calling officer Smith to please come get me before we get to the stairs and something bad happens. Officer Horn kept his aggressiveness up as I tried to keep my balance and telling him to stop hurting me. Officer Horn then got by the cat walk, took out another set of cuffs, and hit me on the top of the head with them. After he did that he threw me in between the top tier rails and attempted to throw me over the top tier, which would have possibly killed me. I told him to stop!

He then called sergeant Blue, the dorm sergeant, and he came and got me and took me downstairs to see medical. I have filed an informal grievance to the warden. I told my mental health counselor Mr. Brodrick who I believe said something but was told to keep quiet. They have been trying to keep this on the hush! I had captain Ford come to my cell last week and he asked me about the things I wrote on a sick call paper pertaining to what I'm telling you now. He asked me about what happened, date and time and I told him it was all on the paper he was holding. He said he was going to review the camera and if I was lying he was going to write me a DR [disciplinary report] for lying to staff. Well, he never came back so I guess he saw for himself what I said was true. They are trying to hide this. And I know they saw the cameras cause they didn't even write me a DR and no one has talked to me yet.

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