Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Florida 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.

[Abuse] [Okeechobee Correctional Institution] [Florida] [ULK Issue 44]
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Christmas Day Beating to Save Face for CO

On Christmas morning upon entering lockdown for 8 a.m. count, Sergeant Samuel approached a cell near mine and radioed the officer station to open the cell door. When the cell door slid open, Sgt. Samuel who is always playing and joking with the two prisoners in that cell, was then putting on his latex gloves so he and an officer in training could search the cell.

One of the prisoners walked out of the cell and refused to cuff up for the search in a playful manner. Refusing to cuff up in the presence of the trainee officer made Sgt. Samuel look bad and playful, so he whipped out his chemical agent saying, "get on the floor or I'll spray you." The prisoner walked away with Sgt. Samuel following; they ended up downstairs and backup arrived. The backup was Sgt. Harris and Corrections Officer Sanders. The prisoner agreed to cuff up as long as they would not gas him. Sgt. Harris agreed and the prisoner laid on the floor face down with his hands behind his back.

Once the cuffs were on the trainee officer and C/O Sanders went into action. The trainee tried to cross the prisoner's legs across each other while pressing them into his back. At the same time C/O Sanders started pressing his right knee into the prone man's neck area. The prisoners locked behind their cell doors started screaming while Sgts. Samuel and Harris looked on. Then they picked the man up from the floor and took him into the sally port.

Outside of the dormitory, as soon they got the prisoner out on the sidewalk, C/O Sanders punched him in the back of the head and he fell to the ground. I saw the whole thing from my back window and started screaming "they're jumping on that man out there!" loud as hell so everyone including the pro-imperialist goons (pigs) could hear me. Corrections Officer Daluco was on his radio commanding all pigs to get the prisoners off their back windows; no witnesses allowed. But they quickly picked the beaten man up from off the floor as Captain Coleman showed up, while the pig Sanders explained that he had to drop the prisoner because "he was talking too much shit." Just like that, Sgt. Harris and Cpt. Coleman walked the beaten prisoner off for pre-confinement where he now sits pending fake "Battery on an Officer" charges even though he was in cuffs and he was battered by C/O Sanders who violated Florida Statute 944.35 (3)(a)(1). C/Os Sanders and Daluco walked off together talking like it was just another day on the plantation, being members of the slave patrol conscripted with all the impunity in the world.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This article was sent to us by both the persyn who was beaten up and another comrade who witnessed the event, exposing an example of brutality in prison that is all too common. And by writing about this brutality, both authors set a good example for others, that there are many ways to take up the battle against the criminal injustice system. We call on our readers to document abuse by prison employees as it happens, and help us to establish patterns that can be used to expose the system and educate people on the streets.

We also need to make the connections between this brutality by prison staff and the criminal injustice system in general. The problem is not a few bad guards, or even the free reign and positions of power they are given in their jobs. It is the entirety of the system that dehumanizes prisoners and places them in a system that has nothing to do with rehabilitation. By classifying so many people, disproportionately from oppressed nations, as fundamentally criminal and forcing them outside of the social and economic system, the criminal injustice system plays a key role in social control of the lumpen class. Keeping prisoners in a constant state of fear of violence and loss of privileges further helps to reduce resistance and silence the voices of those who might otherwise speak out.

It is an act of courage to write about the brutality that is happening, and even greater courage to organize others to study the system and seek greater understanding of its connections to Amerikan imperialism. This study and education helps build comrades who can work together to fight the imperialist system itself.

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[Abuse] [Suwanee Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Florida Denies Prisoners Basic Rights

I am writing to report crimes committed by the security personnel employed by the Florida Department of Corruption who are assigned to work at the Suwannee Correctional Institution in Live Oak, Florida.

During the time I have been imprisoned at Suwannee CI, I have witnessed many crimes being committed by corrections officers at this institution's Close Management (CM) Unit. I've witnessed violations of prisyner's basic humyn rights as well as violations to basic rights that are (supposed to be) entitled to ALL U.$. citizens under the united states constitution. These include violations to our First Amendment rights under the u.s. constitution as well as Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Humyn Rights.

Prisoners are being coerced into withdrawing from their participation in the new Religious Diet Program by corrections officers threatening prisoners with ultimatums. Discrimination against religious prisoners by officers denying them recreational privileges or by destroying religious books and materials during cell searches; violations to prisoners' First Amendment right to "petition the government for a redress of grievances," or infringement upon this right because of retaliation against prisoners who file grievances or complaints about injustices occurring at this institution's CM Unit; violations to our Eight Amendment right as well as Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Humyn Rights due to "cruel and unusual punishment" by corrections officers who retaliate against prisoners by excessive use of force and by using chemical weapons "maliciously and sadistically" and for the very purpose of causing harm "with a knowing willingness" that harm would occur. Or by assaulting CM prisoners while the prisoner(s) is/are restrained by waist chains and shackles, with no means of self-defense. Prisoners are served empty trays in retaliation for filing grievances. And corrections officers write falsified disciplinary reports on prisoners frequently, or plant weapons and/or contraband on prisoners during searches.

Another example of violations against prisoners' basic civil and humyn rights is described in the following scenario on Saturday, 8 November 2014 approximately around 8-9 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), at Suwanne CI in Wing 3 of Golf dormitory. I witnessed a prisoner, who was placed in a shower downstairs in Wing 3, being denied his right to emergency mental health services. He declared a psychological emergency and told the officers on shift at the time (C-shift) in Golf dorm that he was intending to kill himself and that he needed help. The officers then denied him his psychological emergency, told him to "shut the fuck up" and threatened that they would kill him themselves if he didn't and encouraged him to "go ahead" and kill himself, and to "beat (his) face on the tile wall in the shower." Several minutes later the officers engaged the prisoner with an unnecessary use of force against him by using a chemical weapon to gas him while he was in the shower.

The suggested remedy for these injustices and violations of rights and law is that measures be taken to enforce the law upon Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) security personnel and staff at the Suwannee CM Unit and reform and abolish the criminal behavior of FDOC personnel in order to bring an end to the injustices faced by prisoners at the Suwannee CI CM Unit.

"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment; Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a persyn before the law; All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination." (Articles 5,6,7, Universal Declaration of Humyn Rights.)


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade does a good job exposing the inhumyn treatment prisoners face in Florida. But we don't agree that enforcing the law on the FDOC staff will end their criminal behavior and bring an end to injustices faced by prisoners there. The reality of the criminal injustice system is that those working for the system are above the very law they claim to be upholding. And because prisons serve and important role within the imperialist United $tates as a tool of social control, those in charge will never allow prisons to be "reformed" to eliminate injustices. We can and should fight against these situations of torture, and expose the injustice while demanding the prisons follow the law. But we should not mislead people into thinking that these demands will ever lead to an end to injustices. Only when the people take control of the criminal injustice system and use it to lock up the real criminals (the imperialists) will we start to see true justice.

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[Religious Repression] [Political Repression] [Northwest Florida Reception Center] [Florida]
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In Isolation for Influence as Muslim Leader

After being transferred here to Northwest Florida Reception Center - Annex, I have been faced with a number of confinement injustices. First of all I have written a number of grievance to the warden about food service. We have received breakfast trays with roaches crawling in them. If you report it to these pigs they don't do anything about it. In confinement with no food items we are left with no choice but to eat the three trays that they give us even if they are infested with roaches. That's just one small example of the conditions here.

And recently we had a peaceful sit down. No one posed a threat to security, and no one was injured. It happened after Ramadan, a month of fasting for the Muslims. It all started when we were going to the chow hall to eat lunch. The pig called out one brother for talking in line. That’s when all the brothers were getting disruptive, and as Imam (Islamic leader) my job is to calm them down. So, as I was calming them down, the pig called me out of line for talking. Once I stepped out of line 22 other comrades set out of line, along with me, which led to the situation I am in confinement for. The pig saw the other 22 comrades join me and he panicked. They saw that I had influence where comrades move on my move. And they don't like that.

Previously I had to speak to the Assistant Warden, because someone snitched to the pigs about my leadership. And he told me that "no inmate runs this prison", and that if my name came up again he was "going to get rid of us" referring to the Muslims. And that's exactly what happened. I am going to close management with no prior disciplinary reports. The prison administration says that I don't deserve to be in general population because I am disruptive to security.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Control units are often used to isolate leaders in prison, even when those leaders are involved in keeping the peace. This is because the prisoncrats don't actually want peace. The prisoncrats frequently encourage violence between prisoners, because that provides an excuse to lock more prisoners on higher security units, and because it prevents leaders from organizing unity against the criminal injustice system. So when they see an Imam with influence the prison moves to isolate him. This use of close management in Florida mirrors the use of control units for social control throughout the Amerikan prison system. Our best weapon is our unity. We need many leaders so that the isolation of one will not cut off our work.

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[Gang Validation] [Political Repression] [Suwanee Correctional Institution] [Florida] [ULK Issue 41]
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Fighting STG Label for Notes on Political History

I am housed at Suwannee Correctional Close Management Unit, which is the Florida Department of Corruption's equivalent of the SHU or AdSeg. On 4 August 2014, myself and several other political prisoners on my cell block were targeted for repression during a shakedown which was conducted by the pigs. This shakedown was in retaliation for several grievances/complaints being filed about the corrections officers denying us outdoor yard access and indoor day room activities, including access to the phones.

During the shakedown the pigs read some notes I had written down from studying politics, history, and communism. These notes contained some commentary that wasn't very patriotic or friendly toward the Amerikan imperialist regime. When the pigs ordered me to explain the notes I told them that "I like to take notes on politics and current events," and "I like to keep tabs on what's going on in the outside world." The sergeant then held up one of the notes referring to "sovereignty" and said "so you're a sovereign citizen?" To which I replied, "No, I'm just a normal human being." Then he told me to explain why I had notes on weapons. I told him how I was in the U.$. army and developed a fascination for firearms, and he responded by saying, "so now you're a domestic terrorist?" I then told him that the average Amerikan citizen is more likely to be terrorized by their own local law enforcement than by so-called "terrorists."

Myself and three other prisoners were placed in confinement after the shakedown and we were charged with the disciplinary infraction of "Possession of Gang Related Paraphernalia." They tried to validate me as a member of a Security Threat Group (STG) on the basis that in the notes I made a reference to "Popular Sovereignty" and that therefore I was in possession of documents related to the sovereign association, which the imperialist bureaucrats view as a STG because sovereign citizens are not compelled to abide by U.$. laws.

When I went to my disciplinary hearing I told these pigs that the so-called evidence they have against me (the "gang paraphernalia") is merely a bunch of notes I copied from social studies. I explained that "Popular Sovereignty" is (supposed) to be one of the five basic principles of Amerikan government and that anyone who claims to be a patriotic Amerikan citizen should at least know this.

I used this argument to beat this charge and I also presented my own evidence as a defense — part of a social studies assignment on Amerikan government from FDOC's very own educational department which explains (what is supposed to be) the Five Basic Principles of Amerikan Government; 1) Federal System, 2) Popular Sovereignty, 3) Separation of Powers, 4) Checks and Balances, and 5) Limited Government. In real life these "principles" hold no valuable meaning, just as the U.$. constitution is merely a piece of paper.

It seems evident that anyone making an attempt to educate themselves is viewed as a threat by the imperialist bureaucrats and anyone who is against oppression and imperialism is a "domestic terrorist." As revolutionaries, it is imperative that we educate ourselves and our fellow comrades and expose the true terrorists for who they really are: the terrorists in pig clothing, masquerading as those who "protect and serve" and provide "care, custody and control."

We shall prevail in our struggle against imperialist oppression.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We have heard from some comrades that even writing to MIM(Prisons) or participating in our correspondence study groups can be used as evidence for STG validation. We know there is a risk to corresponding and working with MIM(Prisons) but the education and organizing opportunities are great. We hope others will take this comrade's example to fight false validation attempts made against them and stay active in political work and study. For those not yet involved in political study, write to us to join our next introductory study group.

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[Political Repression] [Religious Repression] [Florida] [ULK Issue 38]
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Florida Prisoners Must Salute the Flag and Praise Jesus

My most sincere revolutionary greetings to all strugglers. Just a short note informing the world on the haps here on master Martin's plantation.

On Thursday, 27 February 2014, during Black history month a white Christian band was brought in to perform on the rec yard. Upon attending the function, prisoners were ordered to sit on the grass by staff. By the time the show began only about 30 prisoners stayed sitting on the ground. The whole compound went back inside. Feeling insulted and embarrassed, the administration took dictator-style action. They entered the dorms where the prisoners had already been placed on lock down for not participating in a religious event. The officers announced loudly in the dorm that "all who refuse to participate in the religious event on the yard will not only be kept on lock down, but their cells will be shook down and their personal property will be ransacked." So to avoid our personal property from being ransacked and thrown away, everybody from every dorm went to the yard and sat on the ground. How is that for the First Amendment?

Martin Correctional Institution happens to be one of the plantations at which the Veteran's Program is allowed. Not a problem, except that when the U.S. flag is being risen and put down with the sounding of the trumpet, all prisoners on the walkway must stop walking in honor of the flag or be disciplined, even placed in confinement. Dead-ass serious.

Enclosed is a disciplinary report (D.R.) written by Martin CI mail man Mr. Payne, accusing me of mail violation because I wrote a letter to Boston ABC some time in early 2013 concerning a petition regarding the Keefe Commissary network. The letter mentions that I stated that I placed a petition online. This must be a mistake considering the fact that the petition had been online long before I was informed of it and promoted it. It's also a known fact that I did not post or initiate the petition. Be that as it may, I pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 30 days on D.R. confinement, which I'm currently serving.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The political repression this comrade is currently facing for authoring an article protesting high commissary costs is a good example of why we do not print prisoners' names in Under Lock & Key. The pigs have too much control over our comrades' lives to let them know who is doing what all the time and not have it come back to bite us.

We can also add a concerted effort to censor Under Lock & Key to the list of political repression going on in Florida recently. They do things that piss people off, and then censor ULK for being "inflammatory" by reporting on it.

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[United Front] [Abuse] [Florida]
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Ride or Die in Florida

I could not help but to be moved by the article Ride or Die in the Nov/Dec 2013 ULK. That's where it is at. Organized groups recognizing their potential to solve the problems within our communities. This is something them folks (pigs) can't or won't do. Gangs are not the problem by itself. It is the ignorance of some of their members, mainly because a lack of education of their origin as an organization before the feds infiltrated and caused problems from within. As long as they oppose each other the establishment does not have to worry. Inside the Florida Department of Corrections (FL DOC) there are many examples of the oppression and violation of basic rights that lack of unity causes.

The state of Florida issues a pair of Croks (plastic sandals) for state issued shoes, despite 30 and 40 degree weather. FL DOC does not care if your feet are froze numb while they force you on the rec yard in the morning. Likewise with your hands, no gloves are issued or sold and some institutions do not allow prisoners to have their hands in their pockets to keep them warm. You are told to take your hands out your pockets by someone who is wearing a wool coated jacket, with woolen gloves, and a 100 dollar pair of boots.

Cheap artificial meat is being served to prisoners. This meat causes constipation and other health problems. Prisoners who choose not to eat it will have to eat beans on the regular as the alternative. The monthly menu FL DOC posted on the internet is a front for deceit. The chicken, turkey baloney, sausage, and hot dogs are the only meals that are partly real meat. I mean the chicken is real but everything else is processed and artificial. The meals served consist of the same thing they just have different names. The food is poorly cooked on a lot of occasions. The artificial meat TVP (texture vegetable protein) that was served some years back was stopped after prisoners in Florida worked with prisoners in other states to fight back. They knew TVP was was not sufficient to meet the dietary requirement, but the prisons will do anything they are allowed until someone stops them.

Prisoners receive a roll of toilet paper every 10 days, which is not enough for an adult. And upon expiration of the toilet paper you are told you will be supplied as needed. But how can you be supplied when there is none to supply.

These are just a few examples other than the regular harassment and abuse of authority. Anything that prisoners do other than kiss and lick boots is a disturbance to them. When writing up these issues the authorities answer the grievance with a statement about what the rule states, but it will not get enforced. I am speaking for those who can't afford toilet paper. So they are forced to hustle.

This violation of our basic rights, and of many rules of the prison itself, is exactly what happens when there is no unity. In Florida it is time somebody stands up inside prison and outside against their courts. I am trying to inform people of the United Front. Ride or Die. We need another "Attica" to happen here in Florida.


MIM(Prisons) adds: As with the original Ride or Die article, this prisoner provides compelling examples for why the United Front for Peace work is important. Lumpen Organizations in prisons can come together and provide the leadership for broad unity against the criminal injustice system. This unity will lay the basis for a strong anti-imperialist movement.

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[Work Strike] [Abuse] [Moore Haven Correctional Institution] [Okeechobee Correctional Institution] [Dade Correctional Institution] [Desoto Correctional Institution] [South Florida Reception Center] [Florida] [ULK Issue 36]
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FL Prisoners Struggle Against Having to Pay for Visits

[CORRECTION: The comrade making the original inquiry updated us to say that the problems of having to pay for visits and the DOC taking 10% of our accounts did not happen at Moore Haven Correctional Institution, but rather at South Florida Reception Center (SFRC), Desoto Correctional Institution and Dade Correctional Institution. They were charging prisoners $1.00 for every disciplinary report and $5.00 for every prisoner that was put in confinement or segregation.]

[In November a USW comrade in Moore Haven Correctional Institution in Florida reported that the prison was taking 10% out of prisoners commissary or trust fund accounts each week and that they were being charged for family visits. The article below is a response to that report.]

This is the second time that the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) has tried to impose these despotic demands that I know of. The last time they tried to steal prisoners' money three ways: 1) charging prisoners $1 for every disciplinary report (D.R.) we get, 2) charging prisoners' families to come visit us, and 3) taking 10% out of prisoners' commissary or trust fund account. This was attempted at Okeechobee Correctional Institution.

In response to prisoners' complaints the captain went around to all the dorms and lieutenants at count time and claimed they did not know where the proposed memorandum came from but FDOC headquarters in Tallahassee told them they know nothing about that memorandum, they did not circulate it, and it's bogus and will not stand.

Rest assured that Tallahasse does know about the memorandum at Moore Haven CI. They tried it at one prison and it did not work so they are trying it at Moore Haven because (a) it a private institution run by Corrections Corporation of America, and (b) are short-timers. They are trying Moore Haven because they feel they have more to lose and don't know this trick has been tried at Okeechobee CI before.

Here is how we defeated Tallahassee and the institution. At least 98% of the prisoners filed grievances saying that their family was being subjected to robbery and racketeering. This is organized crime against prisoners and their families under the RICO Act, committed by the government against its own citizens. Then prisoners had their families on the phone to the secretary of FDOC, Governor and state representatives raising pure hell about the way they were being unjustly treated via extortion and harassment by FDOC. The last powerful thing we did was had a sit down strike like good old Martin Luther King Jr. Thus everybody would not leave the dorm. That worked so good because 1) it's non-violent, 2) it stopped all work production, 3) there are not enough confinement cells to lock everybody up in, and 4) it's hard to justify locking a bunch of people up because they and their families refuse to be abused by the government. The sit-down strike got FDOC minds right real fast.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade asked about the progress on the grievance campaign in Florida as well. Yet h story above seems like the greatest example of a grievance victory we've heard from that state. Turning grievances into campaigns is about mobilizing the imprisoned lumpen as a group. That is the only way justice can be enforced. It is part of building unity of all oppressed people to end the injustice that is inherent to the imperialist system, and creating a better world for everyone.

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[Abuse] [Censorship] [Columbia Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Florida Censorship, Brutality, and Disgusting Living Conditions

I was once a subscriber to your monthly newsletter. My last 2 newsletters: Sept-Oct and Nov-Dec 2012 were rejected. The reason given for the rejection:

"It is dangerously inflammatory in that it advocates or encourages riot, insurrection, disruption of the institution, violation of department or institution rules (per Florida DOC rule book Section 33-504.401 F.A.C)."
Sorry for not writing sooner, but I've been very busy. Informing you of why I no longer receive newsletters is not the only reason why I am writing.

Our living conditions are disgusting. The cleaning chemicals are watered down to the point where they are not worth using. No bleach is giving to kill tough germs. In order to get good chemicals we have to pay one of the prisoners. Here at the annex we have air conditioning. In some of the dorms the air conditioning is broken. All windows are sealed closed so there's no fresh air. The ventilation system is very poor. The state wants the air conditioning set to 77 degrees, which is hot and does not keep germs down. Each bunk is about 2.5 feet apart and the head of each single bunk in the dorm that I am in touches each other, so it's easy to get sick from the guy in the other bunk if he's sick.

Every six months existing prisoners, and every new prisoner, is supposed to receive new white under clothes and one new blue uniform (new prisoners). Instead we are issued used clothing upon arrival (boxers with piss stains or crust marks and boxers made from bed sheets, and white shirts with holes or bad underarm stains). Prisoners go through hell and back trying to get new whites every six months. Some of the clothes look as though they have crawled from under a rock or been in a knife fight.

Each prisoner is given a fishnet laundry bag to place whites and personal laundry in. When these clothes are washed the laundry bags are jammed packed into the laundry to the point where the clothes don't even move inside the machine because it's overloaded. When the clothes do come back they are no longer white, but look as though they were washed in rusty water. Towels are cut in half and issued half to each inmate. No wash rags are given and every 7 days 1 bar of hotel soap is issued that is good for 1 or 2 showers.

The chow hall is more than just disgusting. It should be closed down. You either don't eat and starve yourself to death or eat and take a big chance on getting bad health problems. Besides the fact that the Florida Department of Corrections has been serving the cheapest meat and other food products on the market since 2009, the portion of food that is served is not the correct portion for a full grown man. Even a child would ask for more.

The bad thing about it is most of the time the staff members make them serve with a smaller serving scoops or they water down the food and say it's the correct serving. Just one or two hours after each meal you're hungry again. Some meals are so small it's as though you didn't eat at all. And if a server doesn't want to shake the spoon or water down the food they will be sent to the box for refusing to work for 60 days, and with 60 days gain time lost. If you don't have family or friends sending you money you're out of luck, which causes people to rob or steal from the ones who have money.

A lot of times the cups, sporks, and trays do not get washed with chemicals, only hot water. Sporks are issued out greasy, cups are issued with dirt around the rim and muck on the inside. Sometimes there are drops of juice left in cups from the last person and trays are served with residue from the last man. Sometimes the food is served spoiled and if you complain they tell you to eat or get out.

The worst thing is that the kitchen is infested with roaches. Most of the time they come out while the food is served and at night it looks like a million of them all over the cups, sporks, trays, and cooking ware. A prisoner got transferred today because he killed about 100 roaches and sent them to the state capital, the health department, and a news station in a letter marked legal mail. The state called the prison and ordered that they get the prisoner off the compound.

The correctional officers (C/Os) take shanks, tobacco, cell phones, or drugs from out of their pockets and place it on the prisoners or in their lockers or under the bed to get prisoners sent to confinement or close management for up to a year. When they put prisoners in cuffs and walk them to confinement the C/Os start yelling "stop resisting" when the prisoner is not doing anything at all. They shake the prisoner to make him look like he is resisting so they can slam him on the ground and kick him, place their knee in the prisoner's back or have the other C/Os jump on the prisoner. They take their authority and abuse it. They take non-violent offenders and turn them into violent offenders. We call this the Department of Corruption.

I can go on about the poor treatment of medical: getting charged $5 to get cursed out or get a handful of ibuprofen and told to take lots of water for almost any medical problem. Or the poor teaching skills in education by the teachers who say their job is not to teach. Or the canteen prices that are so high it makes $100 look like $30 and the sale of items that say "not for individual sale" still being sold individually.

Prisoners can't even write a petition without getting charged for trying to start a riot. We don't get any help by writing grievance most of the time. They either go unanswered or some form of retaliation is afflicted on the prisoner who writes them.

We seek help, answers and true care, custody, and control. Not corrupt, custody, and control.


MIM(Prisons) responds: These reports of inhumyn conditions, abuse at the hands of the guards, and illegal censorship of anti-imperialist literature are far too common in the Amerikan Criminal Injustice System. This prisoner writes that he seeks help and answers. Unfortunately, the answer is that prisons are not about rehabilitation, or even just custody, they are about social control. And so this sort of treatment is actually serving the intended purpose. We won't be able to change it without a fight, and fundamentally it won't change until the system changes. We might win some small battles for reform though, while building to change the whole system. And for that we need to pick our fights carefully and build support as broadly as possible. There is no simple form of help that we can offer to end this brutality. But we can work with our comrades behind bars to build a base of support from within, and take on strategic battles that may win some reforms. We provide educational and organizing material, and we will support your battles from the outside. This must all be done in the context of building an anti-imperialist movement that will fight to eliminate the capitalist system that requires a criminal injustice system as a tool of social control. Only when we put in place a government that serves the needs of the vast majority of the world's people, rather than one that serves only a small minority of the wealthy, will we make significant steps towards ending oppression.

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[Control Units] [Organizing] [Florida]
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Florida Conditions Differ, Struggle Continues

I don't read much in ULK about Florida prisons. This is unfortunate because readers may believe the Florida Department of Corruption (FDOC) is like the California, Texas or Arizona systems. This is not true. There are conditional differences as well as attitudinal differences between the north and south Florida prisons.

Some notable conditional differences are in what has been referred to in ULK as SHUs and the unity among Florida prisons. The FDOC has Control Management Units (CM). One can find these on CMI, CMII, or CMIII for 3, 2, or 1 year, respectively. In the beginning, the early 1990s, these were sensory deprivation cells. During the CM heyday of the late 1990s you didn't even have to commit a disciplinary infraction, just be considered a 'management problem.' Torture was the name of the game. Suicide was frequent. With help from the outside, lawsuits were filed and settled, and the CM system changed at the close of the 90s. This did not bring a close to the shattered lives of the survivors of these imperialist torture cells. FDOC still has CM, but it is not as easy to put someone on CM status, and they are not sensory deprivation any longer. Brutality and rampant use of tear gas sill happen, but not as bad or often as before. I urge comrades in the other states to keep up the struggle and to not think any sacrifice you may make is too much. A couple of my friends lost their lives trying to get out of those torture cells and two more took their own lives after release from prison due to continuing mental instability after years in CM. It doesn't go away when the door opens!

It appears to me, after reading several issues of ULK, that there is more unity in other states. There is no organization among different prisons nor even among individuals within a single prison here in Florida. They are more like cliques operating for extortion purposes. Unity is virtually nonexistent against the administration.

Unity is not even a concern of the guards. In my present experience, I am a peer facilitator in a certain program. The institution requires everyone in the program to live in the same dormitory and to meet at least once a day, 25 at a time in a separate classroom, to complete character based programs, i.e. imperialist brainwashing, that I then conduct unsupervised - Ha! Comrades, you would think this is the perfect opportunity to organize and unify, but it doesn't work that way. There is much inner struggle. When I speak of how the imperialists define a box and then they say it is our own fault that we don't fit in it; that we are here, I am met with scorn. I have started a slogan: Power to the poor people, but it is slow to catch on - no one is poor? When I filed a grievance on an officer for not doing her job it was labeled as 'snitching on the police' as if that's even possible! When the water cooler broke and we needed it fixed, I asked who all will file a grievance. No one would: no one did. There is a fear about unifying to file grievances.

Furthermore, as I stand up and speak on oppression and revolutionary ideas; about socialism and communism, I alienate myself more and more from my fellow white nation. It is just like a comrade from MIM wrote me recently - I am committing class suicide (a small sacrifice indeed). I am labeled communist as if that were a dirty word! If any comrades know of a technique I can use to get these guys united, let me know.

North Florida prisons vary from south Florida prisons in the general attitudes of the guards and administrators. The north Florida prisons are mostly operated by the white nation. These prisons are more structured, restrictive, and command more discipline. The south Florida prisons are mostly operated by the Black and Latino nations and are not as well organized, loosely run, and more laid back. It is not so easy to get a disciplinary report or go to disciplinary confinement while in a south Florida prison.

I said that to say this; keep the struggle against the man, not yourselves. Remember who the enemy is no matter what type of prison you are in, be it a north or south Florida type. Just because some of you have better conditions than others doesn't mean be pacified, it means you can struggle more; struggle harder.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade raises a good point about analyzing the conditions where we are at. Each state, and even each prison, has different conditions with different contradictions and struggles. While this comrade is frustrated by the current lack of unity in Florida prisons, s/he gives a good example of unified struggle from the 90s and so we can see that conditions we face change over time. We do have the power to affect these conditions. It won't happen overnight, but through education we will build unity. Where there was unity around a shared struggle against Control Management Units, we might look to build unity today around another common struggle. This is a challenge for USW comrades in Florida: to determine what issue will be best to focus on at this time. Regardless of the issue, spreading Under Lock & Key and other revolutionary material, and talking to others about their situation and the system, will help build consciousness. When we are met with scorn when we talk about the imperialists, we may need to take another approach, start from something that is bothering someone. Try to tie this back to the imperialist system so they can see the connections. And remember that even if we don't gain a comrade today, we may have planted the seeds for revolutionary consciousness.

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[Organizing] [Campaigns] [Florida]
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Support Florida Prisoners Against Keefe Snack Sneak Attacks

We recently created a petition addressed to Governor Scott:

The families and friends of Florida prisoners petition for a state investigation of the Keefe commissary network contract with the FDOC. In this economy and in fairness, the people of Florida deserve a new contract that makes canteen prices more affordable or reasonable. (see www.tampabay.com/news/kickback/155046)

Keefe is one of the biggest if not the biggest prison and jail commissary vendors in the United States. Revenues from canteen operation for fiscal year 2009-2010 were $30,973,262. The prices prisoners are being charged are higher than prices for the same items sold in the free world. There are several vendors who bid for the FDOC contract who would offer a wider variety of available items at almost a 60% decrease of what Keefe presently charges. One has to "wonder" why were these other vendors not given the contract?

Keefe's sneak attack on snacks continue to prey on the families and friends of Florida prisoners who for the most part provides financial support to the prison population to spend on canteen. With the economy in recession it is doubtful prisoners families and friends are going to be able to spend more money.

Keefe, which is based out of St. Louis, MO, latest price increase has lead to more thefts, robberies and violence in Florida's prisons. Governor Scott, you can stop Keefe's price gouging with just one phone call, we urge you to be that champion of the fairness and justice that you promised all Floridians during your campaign by making that call.

The success or failure of this important project depends on genuine community interest and online petition signature support. To support Florida prisoners against Keefe's Snack Sneak Attacks visit: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/229/807/212/support-keefe-sneak-attacts-on-snacks-must-go/


CLASS="no-indent">MIM(Prisons) responds: We printed an article about Keefe back in 2009 with similar complaints from a prisoner in Pennsylvania. We don't hold out much hope that Governor Scott is going to turn his back on the capitalists to help out prisoners and their families, but the exposure of Keefe and education about the corruption in the criminal injustice system and its role in making lots of companies (and their employees) rich, is a valuable educational and organizing tool.

Also at issue here is the right to healthy and adequate food. Vending machine food is always going to more expensive and less nutritional. All pisoners should be provided with adequate, fresh food, so that supplementary snacks are a luxury.

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