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.

[Control Units] [Apalachee Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Control Units in Apalachee Correctional Institution

I am currently housed in an administrative confinement unit in Florida's Apalachee Correctional Institution. The East Unit has two confinement buildings: Disciplinary Confinement (DC) and Administrative Confinement (AC). In DC we are on 24 hour lockdown except to take showers on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 3 minutes to wash. Once you've been on DC for 30 days you are eligible for recreation outside for 3-4 hours on Saturday, but they only give us 1 hour, if that. We exercise in what's called a dog cage. It is 15x8 feet approximately.

Administrative Confinement (AC) Y Dorm houses prisoners placed here for security purposes ranging from disciplinary reports, protective management, or investigation. They sometimes use AC as a form of punishment just because they want to. You can stay back here up to 180 days. AC holds about 30-40 prisoners on each wing (1,2,3).

The cell is 6x10 feet with bars as the door. I can touch wall to wall with both arms extended. We rarely get recreation. It's infested with rats and ants which come in and out of your room throughout the day. Your toilet only flushes two times every hour, sometimes less. There's no central heating or air conditioning so right now it's summer and it reaches 100 degrees and we have to be fully dressed. They only have fans at each end of the hall and certain officers will turn them off as a punishment. The office has AC so it won't affect them. Here showers are also Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but you are in a cage with another prisoner which is dangerous because there's a possibility of rape. They give you a piece of a whole soap about the size of a credit card broke in half, if even that big. It's hotel soap and we only get one a week. We get toilet paper every 10 days, sometimes it takes longer. We are supposed to receive 2 rolls per inmate but they just give us one and if you run out, you're just out until next time.

This place is terrible. I wouldn't want my worst enemy here in AC or DC.


MIM(Prisons) adds We have been collecting statistics on control units in prisons across the country as a part of our campaign to shut down the control units. This prisoner's report is part of more general information he provided about the units in Florida. To help us compile accurate statistics about control units in your prison, write to us for a copy of the control unit survey.

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[Control Units] [Apalachee Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Control Units in Florida - Survey Reveals More Torture

I am currently at Apalachee Correctional Institution - West Unit. There are 2 units here: East Unit, which houses approx 1300 prisoners and West unit, which houses approx 875 prisoners. I have spent time in confinement at both units.

The East Unit Disciplinary Confinement (DC) segregation section consists of three dorms with 28 cells each housing two men. So it holds 168 at maximum capacity, and is always full. In DC we are on 24-hour lockdown. Showers are allowed three times a week in cold water, with approximately three minutes to wash. We receive 3-4 hours of recreation in a dog cage every Saturday after 30 days in. The size of the cage is around 15x8 feet.

The East Unit also has another dorm known as Administrative Confinement (AC). We are placed there until it is decided we go to DC or get let out. Reasons we go to AC include disciplinary reports, investigations (which can be for anything from gang involvement, to stealing from the kitchen, to disrespect staff), or "just 'cause." There is no rec for AC and we can be there for a a month or more if it is for an investigation. The AC dorm consists of 35-40 two-man cells 8x10 feet in size.

AC at the East Unit can reach well over 100 degrees in the summer months and we are required to be in Class A uniforms until 10 pm. There is no air circulation despite the fact there is a fan at the end of the hall. The fan is against the wall so it blows no air.

We are also placed into confinement for check-ins which can last 3 weeks months.

In the West Unit, AC and DC are the same 8 x 10 feet two-man cells, housing 38 men. There is no recreation, and showers are three times a week with about five minutes to wash. We receive 1/4 of a bar of soap per week from a bar of free hotel soap. Also, we receive one roll of toilet paper for two men every 10 days. It's supposed to be one roll per person.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This prisoner responded to our request for information about the control units in prisons across the country. In filling out the survey, this elaboration about the conditions of confinement reveals yet another set of long term isolation units that can be called nothing short of torture.

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[Organizing] [Florida State Prison] [Florida] [ULK Issue 25]
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Resistance is Needed in Response to Repression

Sometimes I question our capabilities as prisoners. The reason I often muse this question is because of our lack of desired progression as prisoners. What exactly, if anything, are we accomplishing as prisoners?

There is not enough growth providing room for accomplishment. Growth is something which leads to conscious awareness — production. Not production in its synthetic form, or the bourgeois definition of the word. But productive transition of maturing into a person, who at this higher-level of "self," perceptively sensing and clearly seeing a need for core, unified prison objectives.

I do read Under Lock & Key whenever an issue slips past Florida Department of Correction's central repression and monitoring stations. It is apparent nationally we are faced with, as prisoners, the same dilemmas throughout the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC). One common and predominate problem is widespread proliferation of the PIC's repressive technological and psychological maturation to a degree where it seems to rob prisoners of their inner virtues, their inner capabilities. This is a form of reverse mutation in prisoners growth, development, and production. A prisoner becomes a product of the environment, in which the state strips him of his capabilities. Consequently this crumbles the bridge to collective perseverance to commit to the struggle.

Currently I'm housed in a control unit. Recently I've been considered by administration as a disciplinary liability. Why? Because where I was previously housed had no functioning heating to adequately keep prisoners warm. Being housed in steel and concrete slab buildings, without insulation, is more a meat freezer than a habitat. It confused me why no one took steps to alter their immediate living conditions. As a leader it became my duty to take the initiative to vocally poll the people and actively seek their collective force. Yet, I was one of a handful (on a three-tier wing) to advocate for our humanity. Because I adamantly pursued my so-called 8th Amendment "right," I found myself being threatened with bodily harm through withholding and poisoning my food, and confronted with physical aggression by the pigs.

Not only did they issue me several write-ups, which eventually led to me being moved to a more segregated wing, but they also terminated my chances of being downgraded to a lower security status. This prolonged my assignment to this control unit and postponed my release to general population.

On this segregated wing I'm surrounded by a body of prisoners who've allowed the PIC to degenerate them to one of the worst states of mind this milieu could possibly lower a human being. I find appreciation in the phrase "a mind is a terrible thing to waste." Thus I'm left to ponder the capabilities of prisoners.

I must give a raised fist of solidarity to the comrades on hunger strike throughout California. I must give a raised fist of solidarity to the comrades throughout Georgia for providing a national platform of exemplary work in the struggle. Their leadership has taught us what can be accomplished collectively. These comrades have realized production and collective capabilities.

It is time for prisoners (nationally) to realize our true capabilities, and harness the same progressively.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer points out a common problem in Amerikan prisons: prisoners are reduced to complacency faced with repression and threats, and many are unwilling to, or unaware of, the need to resist. We need leaders who can use Under Lock & Key as an organizing tool to raise awareness, educate and ultimately organize people. It's a slow process, but we can not expect everyone to immediately be with the struggle. We have to remember that there was a time when we ourselves didn't participate. It's our job to share what we've learned and have patience in educating and organizing others, just as our teachers did with us.

This comrade is right that recent organizing in some states gives us a glimpse of what's possible and what we can accomplish if we come together. Part of this is a need for better unity across the conscious groups. For this in particular we call on organizations to join the United Front for Peace in Prisons and get past petty differences so that all conscious and progressive prisoners can come together, united against the criminal injustice system.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Florida]
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Violence and Medical Neglect Caused by Prison Guards

On August 21st I was stabbed by a white supremacist while I was in full restraints. Though I didn't know the man, I can't help but wonder whether this guy thought I was someone else, or he was following orders from these tyrants (COs). It seems to be a common thing for prisoners to harm another prisoner, in the hopes of staying in the Correctional Officers (COs) good graces.

Anyways, I was sent to medical. While at medical the nurses glued up my wounds, with a liquid stitch. Without verifying whether I was internally bleeding or not, they decided to place me under 23 hour watch. The captain happened to walk in the room, and asked me how I felt. I told him I was having trouble breathing, and so he decided to overrule the nurse and send me to an outside hospital.

By the time I reached the hospital I had already lost 40% of my blood. I was bleeding internally in my lung, stomach, spleen, large intestine, bladder and bowels. Long story short, the surgery went well. I stayed in the hospital for about 3 weeks.

While I was there the COs tried to persuade me to be cool with them enough to not file a lawsuit. You see I was stabbed while in full restraints, and the officer watching us said absolutely nothing to aid me away from harm. It didn't work because I've begun to take the proper steps in order to file a lawsuit against DOC.

They failed to properly search the other prisoner before allowing him to leave his cell, and while I was being stabbed the CO just sat there and watched. The whole situation just seems too funny to me. I don't know the guy, I've never had any beef with a white supremacist, I'm not a rat and I'm in good standing amongst my LO.

But I was building with two comrades and was recruiting other POWs to file grievances on various issues within the DOC. I'm not into conspiracy theories but I can't help wonder whether the system purposely allowed me to be harmed in the hopes of discouraging me from the revolutionary path. Nonetheless here I stand, still fighting for freedom no less.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We're saddened but not surprised to hear this story of brutality and suffering caused by prison guards, and their subsequent attempts to stop a lawsuit that might expose this system. We commend this comrade for standing strong in the face of this violence. We know that our comrades in prisons often place their lives in danger just by advocating for peace and an end to injustice. This is an inevitable part of the revolutionary struggle and we must continue to expose these incidents in the pages of Under Lock & Key.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Florida State Prison] [Florida] [ULK Issue 23]
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FSP Prisoners Unite for Rec and Against Brutality

On cell block one, prisoners were being denied outdoor exercise. In 2003, prisoners won a class action civil suit (titled Osterback v. Singletary) where the court made the ruling that it was against the 8th Amendment to deny Close Management Unit prisoners outdoor exercise.

Still, we were constantly being denied. The prisoners were griping. Another comrade and I decided the conditions were right to direct the people. Thus we set out on a "grievance campaign," forming a nucleus of seven. We enlisted five other prisoners to each make two copies of exemplary grievances (that me and the other comrade pre-wrote), all with different language. This was necessary because the people themselves would not have spent one minute to place pen to paper.

Altogether a good 25 grievances were written by the core body. They were passed on for the people to sign and date, and for others to copy. A good 30 prisoners participated.

On the next designated day of outside exercise, the pigs went from cell to cell asking if anyone desired outside exercise. It was a small victory (however temporary), but it showed what can be accomplished if conditions are ideal and leaders take initiative to direct a movement.

More recently, during exercise time at the outside dog kennels, a prisoner was pulled from his cage and punched in the mouth while in restraints by a sadistic pig. The prisoner requested that the pig remove the handcuffs. The prisoner was then grabbed in a choke and his head was rammed into the cage, carving a deep gash in his head, and knocking him unconscious.

The pig then plotted with his co-workers that they would say the prisoner tried to slip the cuffs. They said that there is no surveillance cameras, therefore nothing can be proven.

Because of the incident they tried to take us back on the cell block, but we refused, and demanded to see a higher ranking official. When the white shirt came we stated the facts. Further, everyone united together and initiated grievance procedures for the victimized comrade.

Three months earlier this same pig bashed another prisoner's head in the wall twelve times and caved that side of his face in. The prisoner was taken to an outside hospital. This sort of police brutality is an everyday occurrence here at Florida State Prison. It has a history for it.

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[Abuse] [Mental Health] [Dade Correctional Institution] [Florida] [ULK Issue 22]
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FL Grievances Forbid Helping Others

I am a prisoner currently incarcerated in the Florida department of corrections. At this time I'm being held at Dade Correctional Institution, in the mental health dorm transitional care unit.

This unit is for prisoners who have had, or who have developed serious mental health problems. This place is supposed to provide treatment such as counseling, one-on-one therapy, groups, etc. And it does that, but only to a bare minimum.

I am writing this because the prisoners here are being neglected. Not so much the ones who have good sense left, such as myself, but the severe cases of the prisoners who are so far gone they've lost touch with reality; the ones who are truly mentally disabled.

I've been writing grievances about this neglect, but the FL DOC has this rule that if the incident does not affect you personally then you cannot grieve the issue. This makes no sense to me at all. Some of these inmates are gone, and cannot grieve when they are done wrong.

There's an incident here that I continue to grieve of a prisoner who sleeps in the cell across from mine. This comrade has nothing in his cell except his being and a set of blues. He has no mattress, blanket, sheets, nothing. This guy doesn't talk at all. He makes noises sometimes that have no reasonable meaning but that's about it. He's lost to the world and he is mentally unstable. He cannot ask for these things, and he definitely cannot file a grievance. So this prisoner must continue to live like this because of some stupid rule that the DOC made up about this not affecting me directly.

There are a lot of prisoners here who are being literally warehoused. There are guys here who haven't taken a shower for months. They don't ask so it's not offered.

This is a mental health dorm. The staff are suppose to be helping these prisoners who cannot help themselves, and instead they are ignoring them.

I, fortunately, cannot be ignored. My mental health issues developed from doing long periods of time in close management settings (control units). I admit I became weak in a way. I picked up a bad habit that eventually turned into an addiction: self mutilation — I'm a cutter. But I am not beyond bouncing back. I do time how I want to do time. And that's the way I'm comfortable right now so it is what it is. I've got good sense though, trust that!

I'm going to continue to write up everything that I see these pigs here do, and I'm writing everything they're not doing up too. Someone will eventually listen. They cannot run a mental health unit like this. I'm going to keep on fighting for our rights until something is done.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Health care in prisons across the U.$. is terrible so it's no surprise to hear about the lack of even basic care in these Florida Mental Health units. We are also not surprised to hear the effect that long term incarceration has had on this comrade, leading to self mutilation. This is a good example of capitalism causing so-called mental illnesses. In reality, we should call these torture illnesses, as they are a direct result of torture in prisons. For more information about imperialism and psychology request a copy of MIM Theory 9: Psychology and Revolution.

This article referenced in:
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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Florida State Prison] [Florida] [ULK Issue 21]
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Inhuman Living

I am currently serving a state sentence at Florida State Prison on Close Management (24 hour lock-down). The prisoners are treated like hogs in a barn, not human beings. The clothes here are filthy and stained with blood, urine, feces, oil, and semen. They are passed out on a weekly basis. We can catch a disease this way.

And the meals are always underdone. Prisoners have gotten sick from this, a stomach virus. If you file a grievance on it, the correctional officers won't feed you the next day.

The pigs will write prisoners bogus disciplinary reports sometimes, and if you try to file an appeal after they found you guilty of the infraction your appeal comes up missing. How can a prisoner win like that? The system is designed for us to lose even if we're right in our argument.

The correctional officers like to jump on prisoners in handcuffs/shackles in the assigned cells, on the rec yard, anywhere where there's not a camera to catch the injustice. How can anyone defend themselves when they're helpless?

The COs try to discourage prisoners on a daily basis out of their institutional call-out, meaning they will bribe them with contraband like cigarettes, chewing dip, coffee, knives, etc. A lot of them will fall for it all the time because they are trying to support their bad habits. It's sad on both parties' behalf.

Florida prisoners have no unity whatsoever and they never will as long as they continue to be brainwashed by the COs and continue accepting contraband that is being brought in by DOC workers to prisoners. As long as this keeps going on there will always be fights between one another.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The oppressive conditions in Florida are similar to those throughout the criminal injustice system, and this comrade's call for prisoners to unite underscores the motivation behind the United Front for Peace in Prisons. One of the 5 principles of the United Front is Independence. The oppressed need to develop institutions that meet their needs. There are plenty of examples of prisoners pooling their resources to take care of each other, rather than relying on the COs who only hope to poison the prison population with drugs, weapons, rumors and jealousy.

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[Abuse] [Florida State Prison] [Florida]
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Conditions in Florida State Prison

I'm currently residing at Florida State Prison (FSP). FSP is a Close Management institution for prisoners with alleged disciplinary issues. The truth is that FLDOC intends to keep the entire population on maximum lock down! I say this because there are many changes that have taken place since 2007, when I first came to DOC. Most camps now don't allow all prisoners to rec at the same time. Each dorm has specific days to go out. The same rule applies for canteen.

Youthful Offenders camp in Brevard is only allowed to purchase $10 a week on canteen. Supposedly this is to keep down extortion amongst the inmates, but if so then why do they continue to raise canteen prices? Ten dollars a week is not even enough to buy what you need in today's society. This is just DOC's way of showing who's in control.

Here at FSP we can only have 2 pairs of blue-and-whites. We trade them once a week for supposedly clean ones. Just last Monday I received a T-shirt that was damn near brown! They gave me half a towel and half a blanket! We get toilet paper every 10 days and a little motel-size bar of soap once a week. My ceiling leaks water from all the rain, and every time someone takes a shower! I've filed grievances but have yet to receive a response.

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[Abuse] [Florida State Prison] [Florida] [ULK Issue 20]
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More on Worsening Conditions at FSP

I was recently moved to the gulag of the state and it's real tuff here. They're shorting people on shower soap like it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Food portions done drop majorly, but not too many people write anything up or do anything about it. If you not standing on door for shower you will not shower, which is not worth going to anyway because you only get 30 seconds. When laundry comes on Mondays, if you're not up 4-5 a.m., you will not get to change clothes. To top things off, you can't flush your own toilet, so sometimes you sit in that stink for hours. Just to wake people they flush them in the middle of the night. This shit crazy, but people lay down to it.


MIM(Prisons) responds: In California we're seeing years of work grieving to the administration, while writing to outside media like Under Lock & Key, leading to a growing unity among comrades in some of the roughest prison conditions. We encourage our comrades in Florida, and elsewhere, to launch a coordinated grievance campaign to unite their individual voices and become stronger.

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[Campaigns] [Abuse] [Okaloosa Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Grievance Fight in Florida

In February I was taken to Captain Schwartz's office where he confronted me about writing grievances. I was then locked up, had 5 Disciplinary Reports (DRs) falsified on me, received 210 days of confinement time and lost 150 days gain time. After having been placed in the cell with a prisoner who had written a grievance on the warden for chewing tobacco in a state building, we were illegally gassed twice, made to sleep on raw steel for three days and nights with nothing but a pair of boxer shorts on, and then placed on a loaf diet for 7 days.

This is the second time that I've been under attack at this institution for exercising my first amendment right to write grievances and both times they started with the same captain and both times the Warden, Colonel, and Central Office of Appeal have backed him up. I have been under attack at two other institutions in the past for writing grievances and both times Central Office knowingly and willfully allowed me to be illegally sent to Close Management (CM) [Editor: term for isolation/control units in Florida].

I have high blood pressure and I suffer from asthma and I am not supposed to be gassed. When he gassed us the first time, I tried to tell him about my medical condition and when he saw me throwing up blood and blood running out my nose, he immediately gassed us again. Out of fear for my life, I have not eaten but two selective meals to stay mentally alert since February 22, 2011.

During this time, I was placed in the cell with another prisoner and he was threatened to be gassed and have DRs falsified on him because he refused to take my tray in the cell so it would look as though I was eating to the camera. Finally, an officer just threw a meal tray in the cell and wrote down that I ate that meal. I am definitely not going to let them get away with what they have done to me and are still doing to me. I would appreciate any help you may be able to give me and I would also like to start receiving your newsletter. I just received notice that they are trying to send me back to CM.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Because of the failure of the grievance process in prisons across the country, we have initiated a grievance campaign. If you are in Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and California write to us to get copies of the petition and letter for your state, or if you are in another state write for a generic petition that you can modify for use in your state.

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