Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Georgia 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.

[Campaigns] [Smith State Prison] [Georgia]
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Georgia Joins Grievance Campaign

Dear MIM and all my brothers and sisters bonded by the ink of our pens. We must continue to fight for United Struggle from Within.

I have just initiated my discovery phase in my civil suit against the Warden on this plantation and its incompetent medical staff. I'm located at a level 5 security here in Georgia and as I read ULK I see that we are all faced with this new and improved SHU system. Same game, different name.

I'm on the Tier 2 program, a step down program which is a 260-day program, and I've been here 13 months today because I was caught with 2 cell phones. I've experienced medical neglect, deliberate indifference and cruel and unusual punishment for being caught with contraband.

I encourage the use of the grievance system but we all know it is worthless. Every grievance is denied without due investigation. I personally started a petition against the grievance system here for the inmates in SHU/Tier 2 which I've sent to MIM(Prisons) and joined the grievance campaign in my state.

I wrote this for exposure and to encourage all the readers here in Georgia to petition against your grievance system.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We now have a grievance petition for the state of Georgia, thanks to this comrade's work. Write to MIM(Prisons) for a copy of this petition to demand your grievances are addressed in Georgia.

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[Gang Validation] [Control Units] [Hays State Prison] [Georgia]
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Georgia Targets Goodfellas for Permanent Lockdown

I want to speak up about the Security Threat Group (STG) program in the Georgia prison system. They claim it's for gang members and people who pose a great risk to the system. Their validations are done based on hate and color and where you are from. The people in charge are validating prisoners who pose no threat to the system.

There is a group of prisoners in the Georgia prison system called the Goodfellas. They have their way of living just like any other brotherhood. But they're from the Atlanta area and the prison officials hate them and label them a security threat to the prison. Every other group can come to the Tier 2 program and go back to the main compound after doing 9 months in a cell. But these brothers who are Goodfellas can't get out and are forced to repeat these Tier 2 programs even after they have completed the program.

These young brothers are under great stress. They have been on lockdown for over 4 years with some going on 5 years. It's unfair and the prison will label anybody to keep them locked down.

Free all Goodfellas!
Stop the madness and bigotry in the state of Georgia!


MIM(Prisons) adds: We've heard from others in Georgia about this arbitrary labeling of prisoners as Goodfellas and the use of the tier 2 program for long term punishment and isolation. It is worth pointing out that in the face of all this repression, and reports of thousands of prisoners in Georgia now being held in control units, we are seeing ever increasing levels of activism and organization in that state. We call on all prisoners in Georgia, whether you're part of a lumpen organization or not, to step up and get involved. With the rising tide of activism we have a chance to unite and make some serious progress, not just on small reforms that will make a few people's time a little better, but also on building the unity and political education necessary for a long term movement that can take on the criminal injustice system as a part of the anti-imperialist fight. Organizations in Georgia should join the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

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[Control Units] [Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 42]
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Unity Against Georgia Torture Units

I am currently housed in Georgia Department of Corrections's (GDC) Tier 3 program. This is the only Tier 3 facility in the state at this time. There are Tier 2 programs at every close-max facility in Georgia which means there are about 10 of these units altogether. These programs are sensory deprivation torture at its extreme.

There is no due process or even a set standard that GDC goes by to place prisoners in these programs. If you file too many grievances, don't get along with the administration at a camp, or if snitches and rats give information to staff about your activities that can't even be proven, Georgia will place you on the tier.

At Tier 3 there are "phases" to the program, but all prisoners for the first 90 days are locked in a cell with only a shower, toilet, sink, and bunk. All windows are covered with metal, and you are allowed no outside recreation for at least 90 days. During this period you are allowed no books, no magazines, none of your personal property except what legal work the facility deems necessary. There is no store call except stamps and paper (which are also limited), no phone calls, and no hygiene except state issue.

In the whole state of Georgia we are fed only breakfast and dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. With no store call on the weekends, they basically enforce starvation torture on us. If prisoners try to resist in any way they are pepper sprayed or beaten. Guards slam prisoners' arms and hands in heavy metal door flaps, curse at us, threaten to not feed us, and then when they don't feed us they say we refused our trays.

We have to fight this. I have filed three grievances so far in the 50 days I've been here, about the illegal classification and the fictionalized classification standards. All have gone unanswered.

There are 200 prisoners all on Tier 3 at this facility. All over Georgia there are probably 5,000 prisoners or more facing these oppressive conditions. I am a white ghostface and I am introducing my organization to the precepts of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. None of our policies, laws, creeds, or codes go against what the front stands for, nor does it go against what the MIM stands for or believes in.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Georgia's tier system is being used to target activists and anyone the prison wants to isolate. We have many comrades now locked down in isolation. If anything, the torture is breeding resistance and organization in Georgia. This comrade sets a good example, looking to educate and organize others, including any organizations that might join the United Front for Peace in Prisons. Coming together around the UFPP principle of Unity we can build a movement to take on long-term isolation units like they have in Georgia, as a part of the broader fight against the criminal injustice system.

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[Gang Validation] [Smith State Prison] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 41]
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Prisoners from Atlanta Arbitrarily Labeled Gang Members

For the past 19 months I have been locked down in solitary confinement, all because of a gang validation. In February 2013, I was taken from my cell and locked down in the hole, for nothing. I haven't broken any rules of the prison or given them any reason to punish me. Without a hearing or a proper investigation I was thrown in the hole and labeled "Goodfellas" (G.F.). They put a label on me and several others, and we are "guilty by association." No matter if you are G.F. or not, Smith State Prison will label you G.F. if you are from Atlanta. And the Goodfellas are the only group of people in this prison on lockdown.

Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) started this new program called the "tier program." From my understanding it was designed to treat us as individuals instead of as a group. It's supposedly a 9-month program, and when you complete the program you are supposed to get out of the hole. But that only applies to those who are not validated Goodfellas. If you are validated G.F. then you are stuck in the hole even after you complete the 9 months.

I have the Standard Operating Procedures of the administrative segregation Tier 2, and it states that Tier 2 program is not a punishment measure. Why do I feel that I'm being punished for no reason? All my privileges have been taken away. I can't go to the store for the same things as general population. I can't order a CD player, radio, books, magazines, etc. By being in the hole I have no access to a TV so I'm lost on what's going on in da outside world.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This system of labeling people as members of an organization based on where they are from is well documented in California as well, and we're sure it's going on in other states. While this practice purports to address regional disputes that may turn dangerous behind bars, this practice actually forces people who may not have identified with a lumpen organization to become affiliated for self-defense. It does help promote one goal of the prisons: to fuel disputes between prisoners and expand gang validations to justify locking up more people in long-term isolation, just like this writer explains is happening in Georgia where people labeled Goodfellas aren't let out of the hole in violation of the prison's own rules. We have reports that some G.F.s have been held in isolation for many years.

The United Front for Peace in Prison is taking this validation and turning it against the prisons by calling on all organizations and individuals to come together and fight together against the criminal injustice system. Whether or not you are actually a part of a lumpen organization, if you are put in a unit with others you can use this opportunity to promote peace and unity. And together we can fight to shut down control units, and build a movement that can defeat the imperialist system that needs prisons and long-term isolation units for social control.

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[Abuse] [Georgia State Prison] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 40]
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Georgia Prisoners Ready to Fight Negligence and Corruption

Canteen
This prison degrades all to the lowest form. We are repeatedly refused showers, recreation, and medical attention after being abused by supervising officials. They are running in on us at 3am in full riot gear while we are resting in what peace we can get around here. The Certified Emergency Response Team (CERT) is run by a new sergeant and he is pepper spraying prisoners who pose no threat. He is ordering his subordinates to "shoot first and ask questions later."

We are being subject to excessive rectal searches just to take a shower. Our food is cold, spoiled and inadequately prepared. We don't receive beverages and staff talk over, sweat on, and handle our trays with no gloves, hair nets, or face masks.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Me and my fellow lumpen comrades are definitely determined to sink this "titanic" along with other negligent and corrupt entities within the state. Always remember a closed mouth doesn't get fed. It's time to fight back with our minds, pens and comradery! Believe me that there's only so much that we are going to take laying down! Free all my like-minded brothers of the same struggle.


MIM(Prisons) adds: There is a growing movement of prisoners and lumpen organizations in Georgia standing up to the abuse and unjust conditions in the prisons in that state. Part of this work requires educating and organizing, and for this we need leaders like this comrade. Leaders are willing to put in the work exposing the conditions, and educating fellow prisoners about the need for unity and building for legal and non-violent actions that will further the anti-imperialist movement. United Struggle from Within (USW), the MIM(Prisons)-led prisoner organization, needs more comrades to step up and take on leadership roles behind bars. Get in touch with us for more information on working with USW.

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[Abuse] [Control Units] [Hays State Prison] [Georgia]
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Georgia Implements new Control Unit Program

I am writing to inform about the tier II program Georgia has started at all level 5 security institutions. This program is suppose to be a disciplinary management program, but in reality it is a cover up to keep prisoners on lock down.

There are 13 criteria that identify prisoners to be placed into the program, but since they've started this program there are prisoners who do not qualify but who have been placed into the Tier II program. The real reason the program was started is to keep certain organizations on lock down. The majority of prisoners in this program (90%) are African Americans. The other 10% are ones who have rebelled agains their system somehow so they were placed into the program.

You can be in the program up to two years at one camp and even if you complete it at one camp they'll send you to another camp that has the Tier II program and place you back on lock down.

At Hays State Prison inmates constitutional rights are being violated, they are refusing us recreation, our procedural due process has been violated, they are not feeding us 2800 calories a day, and they serve us cold food at all meals. Recently Hays State Prison guards have started carrying tasers. The officers let a prisoner kill himself, and if you piss one off they'll neglect feeding you or put something in your food.

In addition, the grievance system they have is bogus. Even if you word your grievance correctly and you have them dead to wrong, their reply will always be 'your grievance has been denied due to the fact upon investigation of this matter such and such say or nothing was found to be out of order.' When really no investigation was run, because they never talk to your listed witnesses or talked to you personally.

This is one institution that needs to be closed down. There is so much going on. The only reason certain things don't take place for now is because of the tactical squad that's running the institution, but when they leave it's back to beating on prisoners and other such cruel and unusual punishment.

The prisoners here are filing lawsuits but it's a process that takes time. Hays State Prison is practically starving prisoners and they violate constitutional rights as well as standard operating procedures of the Georgia Department of Corrections.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It's important that our comrades report on new programs like this Tier II system in Georgia because this is the sneaky way that states are now renaming long term solitary confinement. Also known as control units this isolation in and of itself is very harmful to people. As this comrade reports, Georgia is taking the repression further by restricting food and carrying out other abuses, and then denying prisoners the ability to grieve these violations of law. Georgia does not yet have a grievance campaign, but we hope that one of the many active comrades in that state will soon take up the challenge to create a grievance petition specific to this state so that we can push that campaign as another tool in our fight in Georgia.

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[United Front] [Organizing] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 38]
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Georgia Prisoners Unite for Peace and Education

I want to first send an encouraging word to the brother who exposed a glimpse of our struggle here at Georgia State Prison. I can honestly say that the author of the stand up article in the March/April 2014 Under Lock & Key has inspired me to go harder.

As of this moment I am the head representative of the United Nation Against The Machine (UNATM) movement. The UNATM promotes unity, peace, and education amongst the various social groups within the system. The goal is to cease fire against one another and unite in our struggle against the oppressive pigs. We all have a common goal which should be freedom and we all have a common enemy which is the oppressive injustice system. There is no excuse for us to continue laying down when the bully approaches. We still have rights and we still are human beings who deserve better.

I want those in the segregation unit to know that you are not alone and as a fellow comrade/soulja in this struggle I pledge loyalty. I pledge to educate and decrease the illiteracy rate that confines our fellow brothers in an enslaved mind. I pledge to challenge the unchallenged. I pledge to finally put the pig head on the platter for all its wrong doing. We are our own machine that will stop at nothing to obtain true justice. I encourage all the souljas in this struggle to remain strong for we will see better days.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We are encouraged to see the growing activism in Georgia and in particular the conscious comrades building unity and peace in that state. We have reached out to this comrade to suggest that UNATM consider joining the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) as their goals line up with this effort. Specifically, the first three UFPP principles are peace, unity and growth. Through this United Front we can bring together different groups and individuals to fight our common enemy in the criminal injustice system.

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[Control Units] [Hunger Strike] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 38]
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Georgia SMU Prisoners Fight to Maintain Peace

Comrades here at Special Management Unit (SMU - long-term isolation) are doing what they can to protest and fight against the illegal housing that they are being subjected to. Prisoners here are going on hunger strikes and are suffering due to the lack of outside support. Further, the DOC has taken actions to keep outside inquiries from being made public and the news media is refusing to expose the inhumane treatment of prisoners in Georgia's SMU unit.

Prisoners are being transferred to SMU for refusing to participate in the so-called tier step down programs they've started in Georgia. The DOC is trying to force lumpen groups to be housed two men in a 24-hour lockdown cell, thus placing prisoners in physical jeopardy, in order to start a war. Just another attempt to enact the Willie Lynch mentality amongst these prisoners. Before, the prisoners enacted peace and brotherhood policies amongst and between the lumpen groups, and there was no tier step down program. So this program is to create strife amongst the brotherhood by building enough stress and confusion to destroy peace that prisoners worked hard to establish.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We have received a lot of reports about the hunger strike in Georgia, and the struggles against SMU classification. The unity and awareness being built in Georgia prisons is definitely frightening the prison administrators. This is an important lesson for organizers: when we build for peace among the lumpen organizations our enemies will take this as a call to war. The United Front for Peace in Prisons is bringing together organizations and individuals in this important battle. Get involved today in building peace in your prison.

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[Hunger Strike] [Abuse] [Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison] [Georgia]
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More Reasons for Georgia Hunger Strike

I am writing to you on behalf of myself and the prisoners of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison - Special Management Unit (SMU). I was beaten brutally by SMU's cert team. My ribs were fractured and I was denied any medical treatment. This happened in June 2012. In January of this year I was assaulted (while in cuffs and shackles) by Lt. Micheal J Kyle, he punched me in my face 5 times with a closed fist. This was retaliation because I reported him for sexual harassment after he showed me his fully exposed penis and told me to "suck it."

Right now there are about 9 prisoners on a hunger strike because of the hardships being placed upon us. We are being deprived of our property without proper due process. We face daily ongoing hardships and abuse such as those described above. Our right to religion is also being violated due to our windows being completely covered, so Muslims cannot determine when to pray and prisoners like me who study all religions cannot receive any religious material for certain religions for reasons they will not share with us.

We are in desperate need of a change!


MIM(Prisons) adds: We are getting a lot of mail from Georgia describing the conditions and the need for struggle and change in prison there, especially from the Diagnostic and Classification prison. This unity among the prisoners, and their outreach work to inform media and work with prison activists are all good signs for this struggle. We look forward to working with these new comrades to build the level of political education and organizing in Georgia so that our fight against the criminal injustice system will win both short term and long term battles.

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[Hunger Strike] [Organizing] [Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 37]
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Georgia Prisoners on Hunger Strike Since February 9

man behind bars
On 9 February 2014, prisoners at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison Special Management Unit (SMU) lockdown began another hunger strike to protest conditions. The hunger strike is to address abusive conditions, bugs being served in food repeatedly, sexual harassment, sexual assaults, beatings by officers while in handcuffs, being thrown on strip cells without food, feeding prisoners only 1500 calories daily when we are supposed to be given 2800 daily, refusing E-Wing yard call, refusing access to law library, and staff trying to poison prisoners. We are facing threats by staff that if prisoners remain on hunger strike they will die under their watch and it will be covered up.

Prisoners in the Georgia State Prison SMU have had enough of the oppression and decided to take a true stand to fight for our rights. Prisoners in the strike include many of the same prisoners from the 9 December 2010 and 11 June 2012 hunger strikes, and these prisoners are refusing to eat until conditions change.

On 25 January 2014, prisoners received trays at the SMU lockdown with bugs in the food. And after the bugs were pointed out by the prisoners to staff, they were told that either they eat the food or don't eat at all. Then when the prisoners tried to keep the trays to show the proof to the warden they were threatened by the daytime Officer in Charge, that if they didn't give up the trays he was going to suit up with his Correctional Officers and gang rape the prisoners. The prisoners still refused to give up their trays and were threatened again the next day: if they didn't give up the trays they were going to be refused their tray meals for that day. The prisoners had to go two days without eating just to show the warden the bugs in their food. And when the prisoners finally got a chance to show the bugs in the food, the warden only replied that it's nothing but a little bit more meat to add in their chili. This is not the first time that bugs had been served in food, but nothing has been done about this issue. Even though we file grievances, nothing but denials.

These prisoners have even been beaten by staff while in handcuffs. Nothing has been done about these employees' abusive actions. There is a coverup by Warden Bruce Chatman, Deputy Warden June Bishop, Warden of care and treatment William Poinel, Cpt. Micheal Nopen, Lt. Michael J. Kyles, aand even down to medical staff Mary Tsore and mental health staff Mr. Whitmoore.

Georgia prisoners are being denied access to the law library as guaranteed by the Georgia and U.S. law. Prisoners are only allowed two court cases per week to be delivered at their door on a piece of paper, and no books.

Medical staff are refusing to take notice of the hunger strike even though SOP VH47-0002 guarantees strikers health service.

The legal system refuses to respond, grievances are ignored or destroyed, and there is very little that Georgia prisoners can do to fight for their rights. Our only choice is to put our lives in danger by refusing to eat, and plead for some outside support.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The past few years have seen a sharp increase in prisoners using food refusal as a tactic to demand some improvements in conditions. Considering the powerlessness of prisoners, and the complete failure that is the grievance system in many states, it is not a surprise that people feel their only option to demand basic rights is to starve themselves.

We print many reports on these strikes in the pages of Under Lock & Key, and we know this inspires others to learn of similar struggles across the country. But we also encourage everyone to study these actions and learn from their mistakes. In Illinois, prisoners were manipulated by the pigs to end their strike prematurely. In South Carolina lockdown coordination problems ended their strike. In Nebraska prisoners failed to make clear demands and gained nothing after a two day protest. Even in California where prisoner unity is remarkably high, the response to the massive hunger strikes has been little more than lip service and program name changes. We must be prepared for such lack of response from the state with a long view of how to make change.

The underlying lesson in all of these struggles is the need for stronger education and organization before taking action. Greater unity will be achieved through education, and organization will build a solid system of communication and a strong and winnable list of demands. One quick lesson for all: when sending information to the media about your strike include something clear that people on the outside can do to support you. It can be a number to call or place to write to register their support.

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