Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Illinois Prisons

Got $20? Slip it in an envelope and send to POB 40799 SF, CA 94140. Help cover printing costs. 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.

[Censorship] [Legal] [Civil Liberties] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 32]
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Fighting Censorship in Illinois

On 3 October 2011 I was notified by prison authorities that I had received the September/October 2011 No. 22 issue of Under Lock & Key (ULK) in the mail. I was further notified that I could not have ULK because it is banned throughout the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). I grieved this unconstitutional banning of ULK since IDOC cannot validate its claim that ULK is a threat to security. On 27 July 2012 I filed a Section 1983 Civil Suit against the director of IDOC, S.A. Godinez.

This lawsuit is based on the grounds that IDOC cannot substantiate the banning of ULK and that the banning of ULK violates my Constitutional Rights to:
1) Receive and own reading material;
2) Have freedom of speech; and
3) Have freedom of political expression.

In my Statement of Claim I gave a brief definition of what MIM(Prisons) and ULK are. However, I was wondering if you would like to prepare a statement about what exactly MIM(Prisons) and ULK are and the purpose of their existence.

In further news, on 16 August 2012 another prisoner and I received a notice saying that we had received the July/August 2012 No. 27 issue of ULK in the mail and that we couldn't have it because ULK is banned. We are both currently in the second of three stages of the grievance procedure and will be filing a Class Action lawsuit within the next six months challenging the banning of ULK. This suit will merge with my already existing one.

Any information that you can send me on this topic would be greatly appreciated.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The comrade above has not received an issue of Under Lock & Key since November 2011. Appealing the censorship and going through the grievance procedure will often successfully get you the mail that the authorities are attempting to deny. If that doesn't work, we need to be prepared to take the censors to court when possible.

Unfortunately, due to our very limited resources, it is very difficult for us to offer legal assistance directly on your case. Instead we run the Prisoners' Legal Clinic in an attempt to empower and encourage our subscribers to do their best putting together and filing their case on their own. Recently another comrade offered h legal services to help fight censorship in Illinois, which is not just an ongoing problem for the author of this Civil Suit. We are attempting to facilitate this anti-censorship battle and push it to a head. Remember to send in your censorship documentation and status updates on your anti-censorship grievances and cases so we can publicize them on our website. If you are a lawyer on the outside and want to work on this issue, please get in touch.

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[Organizing] [Pontiac Correctional Center] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 27]
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Hunger Strike Kicks Off in Illinois

Illinois has followed in the steps of California and Virginia. On June 3, 2012 twenty-three political prisoners went on hunger strike together in protest of various administrative issues at Pontiac Correctional Center. On the same day I.A. interrogated all of the strikers in an attempt to frame the strike as "gang activity."

Pontiac Correctional Center exists in Illinois for the sole purpose of isolating prisoners from each other and the world. The vast majority of prisoners here are in segregation. As part of the administration's oppression against us we are beaten, unfed, given inadequate law libraries, isolated, and much more. All of this is being protested by the strikers. From Palestine to California and Virginia to Illinois the revolution against tyranny and despair, extortion and exploitation, oppression and capitalism is growing stronger.

In the name of revolution, solidarity, and struggle.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Menard Correctional Center] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 24]
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Fighting Back in Menard

Here at Menard, a prison within the Illinois Department of Corruptions, the prisoners have said "no more." We now are making a full and united front against the swine who confine us.

We have tried for years to voice our objections in a peaceful and civil manner to the hierarchy of this morally bankrupt system. However, these pigs refuse to listen. In fact it has now become completely and utterly impossible to exhaust any and all grievances with any kind of legally sound argument within its body, thereby stopping a prisoner from presenting any claim in any court.

Here in the segregation unit they have gathered together a group of sadistic pigs who torture at will. The head and ringleader of these cowards seems to be Officer Davis. The hierarchy put in cameras to curb the abuse. The piggies found blind spots, where prisoners' blood stains the concrete, and those responsible are allowed to hide.

There have been at least five severe and bloody staff assaults here in a row. The brass in their state capital keeps asking, why? Why, because you have left us with no other course of action. We have become intolerant of the consecutive abuses. We have finally found ourselves in a corner with nowhere to turn. I see no end to the bloodshed. Even after these pigs put those they believe responsible in extreme isolation, it continues!

Defiance and refusal to submit to these pigs has become a movement within itself. It has become much too large to squash. When things attain a certain size they become permanent. One can dredge a lake, but not an ocean.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter illustrates an important fact: when people are pushed into a corner, tortured and given no option of running away and no peaceful way to fight back, they will be forced into a violent response. It is ironic that the prisons are constantly censoring MIM(Prisons) as a threat to the security of the institution when it is their own policies and practices that threaten the safety of staff and prisoners the most!

We do want to point out that there is an alternative to short-term violence against the pigs. We need broader organization among our comrades behind bars so that they are not taken out one by one for fighting back. While we cannot judge individual cases of desperation, we know that the long battle is one that requires the building of unity and the education of our allies.

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[Release] [Organizing] [Political Repression] [Stateville Correctional Center] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 24]
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Illinois Uprising Parallels California Hunger Strike

I have been a prisoner of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) for more than 11 years and am scheduled to be released within the next 2 years. But with no family left in this world, no place to go, no clothes other than the ones on my back, and no support system established... the odds are stacked up against me way before I am even released back into society and the only thing that the IDOC is going to provide me with before releasing me back into the so-called "free world" is a $10 check.

I am really interested in the July/August 2011 issue of Under Lock and Key because there's an article in there about a prison strike [in California]. A lot of people around the world aren't aware that the prisoners at the Stateville Maximum Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois had a similar prison uprising in February and March of 2011. It was swept under the rug by then Director Gladys C. Taylor and Governor Patrick J. Quinn. This movement wasn't just a particular gang or a particular race orchestration, we all came together as one mass body (Blacks, Latinos, and whites) to protest the condition that we've been subjected to ever since the Richard Specs video leakage in 1995. In fact, I'm enclosing a copy of my adjustment committee's final summary for your entertainment.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This prisoner gives two examples of how the state will not serve the needs of the oppressed. When prisoners try to work together and quash beefs to do something positive they are targeted for repression (see below). Then, after over a decade in prison, people are sent to the streets with no resources or support. This is why it is only by building institutions independent of the imperialist state that we can begin to address these complaints.

What this comrade describes happening in Illinois is also playing out in California in the second phase of the hunger strike. Both examples show the potential for organizing against oppression when prisoners are united. This is why we are working to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons which unites around the 5 principles of peace, unity, growth, internationalism and independence: "We organize to end the needless conflicts and violence within the U.$. prison environment. The oppressors use divide and conquer strategies so that we fight each other instead of them. We will stand together and defend ourselves from oppression."

Final Summary Report
Click to Download PDF


THIS REPORT IS THE RESULT OF AN INVESTIGATION CONDUCTED BY STATEVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER INTELLIGENCE UNIT, INTO A CONSPIRACY TO ORGANIZE AN INMATE DRIVEN PROTEST AT STATEVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER BY OFFENDER XYZ AND OTHERS. DURING THE COURSE OF THE INVESTIGATION APPROXIMATELY 110 INTERVIEWS WERE CONDUCTED AND 30 CELL SEARCHES WERE CONDUCTED BY STATEWIDE INVESTIGATORS. THE INVESTIGATIONS UNIT WAS ABLE TO OBTAIN FIVE COPIES OF THE DETAILED LETTER THAT WAS BEING CIRCULATED IN THE INMATE GENERAL POPULATION REGARDING THE PROTEST PLANNED TO TAKE PLACE BEGINNING MARCH 1, 2011.

THE PROTEST LETTER BEGINS WITH THE FOLLOWING: "THIS MEMO IS FOR THOSE HERE IN STATEVILLE WHO ARE READY, WILLING, AND ENTHUSED WITH ANTICIPATION TO RISE TO THE OCCASION TO LEAD US AND USHER IN A NEW ERA. THUS CEMENT OUR NAMES IN HISTORY..." THE PROTEST LETTER IDENTIFIES SEVERAL ISSUES THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED BY ADMINISTRATION AND LISTS THEM. THE LETTER GOES ON TO SAY AFTER THE PROTEST AND GRIEVANCES HAVE BEEN FILED THEN THE INMATES WILL REQUEST THE WARDEN ISSUE MEMORANDUMS DETAILING THE CORRECTIVE ACTION THAT WILL BE IMPLEMENTED. THERE ARE INSTRUCTIONS FOR ALL INMATES TO STOCK UP ON COMMISSARY BECAUSE BEGINNING MARCH 1 THE INMATES ARE NOT TO SUBMIT ANY COMMISSARY SLIPS IN ORDER TO MAKE THE FOOD TO GO BAD. THE LETTER THEN INSTRUCTS ALL THE INMATES TO BAN THE USAGE OF THE PHONE FOR ONE WEEK, NOT GO TO RECREATION FOR ONE WEEK, AND FILE GRIEVANCES ON ALL ISSUES STARTING MARCH 2011. THE LETTER THEN INSTRUCTS THE INMATES TO HAVE NO CONTACT WITH THE POLICE, IA OR ANY STAFF BECAUSE SILENCE GIVES THEM POWER AND WILL STRIKE FEAR. THE LETTER THEN REQUESTS THE INMATES TO HAVE THEIR PEOPLE ON THE OUTSIDE TO PROTEST WITH PICKET SIGNS IN FRONT OF STATEVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER.

WHILE CONDUCTING A SEARCH OF CELL XXXX INVESTIGATIVE PERSONNEL CONFISCATED HANDWRITTEN DOCUMENTATION IN XYZ's PROPERTY DETAILING EVENTS OF THE PROTEST. THE DOCUMENTATION WAS FIVE PAGES TYPED AND ONE HANDWRITTEN PAGE.

DURING AN INTERVIEW XYZ CLAIMED OWNERSHIP OF SAID DOCUMENTS. XYZ STATED THIS DOCUMENT WAS BEING PASSED ON THE GALLERY AND HE KEPT IT. XYZ ALSO STATED THE PROTEST IS GOING TO HAPPEN AS SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 1, 2011.

ON MARCH 1, 2011 THE INMATES AT STATEVILLE CORRECTIONAL CENTER PROCEEDED WITH THE PROTEST AS INDICATED IN THE PROTEST LETTERS THAT WERE BEING CIRCULATED IN GENERAL POPULATION. STATEVILLE WAS PLACED ON RESTRICTED MOVEMENT DUE TO THE INMATE PROTEST.

OFFENDER XYZ WAS POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY INSTITUTIONAL GRAPHICS

...

DISCIPLINARY ACTION

FINAL

1 Year CGrade
1 Year Segregation
Revoke GCC or SGT 1 Year
3 Months Audio/Visual Restriction

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[United Front] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 23]
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S.O.B. Joins United Front

I am writing on behalf of Soldiers of Bondage (S.O.B.). We are a movement within the Illinois State prisons that fights the oppression by our government.

We fight obscurantism, opacity, and refuse to abnegate to our oppressors! Like any real movement we fight with every resource that we possess; instinct, intelligence, conviction, and (when necessary) violence.

Our mission is to free everyone from their chains of bondage so that they may be free and that we, as a unified people, can live under equitable conditions.

After reading and digesting the July/August 2011 issue of Under Lock & Key I have decided to unite with my comrades in order to better achieve the goals of S.O.B.

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[Control Units] [Tamms Supermax] [Illinois]
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Activists Labeled a Threat and Locked in Tamms

I have recently received your MIM Theory 13 magazine and your letter and the ULK newsletter. I am a Tamms C-Max incarcerated individual who has been living and experiencing the Tamms life of daily struggles and misfortunes for the past year of what seems like an estimated five to ten years before review and actual consideration for an eligible transfer. Although fixed annual and quarterly reviews are held for us here, nobody goes anywhere, especially for what most of us are down here for which is allegedly being gang leaders and influencers over a Security Threat Group(STG). Really we're just conspired against by those in general population who can't stand to live among a different mindset which is hated on by those who can't figure one out.

So the birds chirped and the masses spoke to get rid of yet another innocent man just trying to get back in count and enjoy a few contact visits. I was brought here in January and have kept to myself since then. I'm antisocial and goal oriented, silent to the land but outspoken and observant for the blind. So with that said, I've been silent to the land concept and scheme which revolves around my 90 thousand dollar a year head and stay here in the worst of the worst prisons. I've observed enough and must now speak out for those who are blind and out of sync with what's really transpiring behind the walls of Tamms.

On my first day here from being transferred I wasn't fed on the ride here so I spoke up and was told my next meal was going to be a 3-11 shift, but then I stood light headed till four that afternoon hungry from breakfast which was my last meal before waking up at 7 to be told to pack up what property never got sent here to my possessions. I got discriminated and retaliated against for something I wasn't even a part of. I only retrieved my personal electronics, clothing and food but all my legal mail and personal mail never showed up... "mistake", i think not.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Dixon Correctional Center] [Illinois]
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Dixon's Disabled done wrong

Dixon STC (Special Treatment Center) Correctional Center is a facility that abuses, verbally and physically, Illinois' fathers, nephews, cousins, uncles, brothers and sons, while failing them on a regular basis. It doesn't fail them in a rehabilitation manner because this isn't a regular facility. This facility is for the physically and mentally challenged.

How does it fail them? It fails them by constantly breaking these men's civil liberties. An abused man can stand up for himself, but many of these men, like lost sheep, are left to the wolves, the guards, and fall right over. These men, Illinois' family, are slaughtered by a system that protects the abusers, the guards, and slowly destroys the abused. Some of the abused even try to kill themselves because of the situation.

It starts with the guards, which are composed of, in rising order, correctional officers, sergeants, lieutenants, and majors. They all come from around the Dixon area and are a tightly wound group. Most, not all, of the guards treat the STC prisoners with constant badgering or demeaning names and comments. In groups, the guards will make fun of or belittle an individual's disability; especially if the individual has no other witnesses. However, that is just the beginning.

The abused men here have three options: take the pain, retaliate, or do paperwork. Sadly, the choice taken is usually one of the first two.

If they are quiet, then the verbal abuse continues until they get out or, like some choose, they exit by suicide.

The other route, retaliating, is what the guards love and the system is made for. If the abused counter with words then two things can happen. The first is disciplinary action can and will be taken. The second, which some guards do, too often, is they take it farther. A guard might strike or even gang assault a prisoner. However, it doesn't end there. They then write reports claiming a whole different story occurred and a whole new case will be given to the individual.

How can this happen? Because three or more officers versus a man that is deemed low in society, forgotten, and disabled isn't hard to crush in the courts.

What courts? Lee county, whose main area, Dixon city, is built around Dixon CC and it's precious guards.

Anyone would say " Why at Dixon STC and not other joints?" The answer is simple. It happens at other joints, even the General Population side of Dixon CC, but rarely as often because it's a Special Treatment Center, on the other side. The prisoners here don't either know how to use, don't believe in, or don't trust the system. Being disabled they don't know better.

These family members of ours need our help. They need the help provided at this facility, but not treatment like this. Even if they choose to fight back through paperwork the system's a joke. You first need to fill out the paperwork, which most of them can't do or don't realize what rights have been broken. Then, you send it through the mail, which the guards sometimes have access to at different points, to the counselor. Then, a week or two later you get it back. You send that to the grievance officer who gets it done in a month and then gives it to the chief administrative officer to agree or disagree with. Then, you can finally send it to Springfield. That wait is a long time and after that you can finally sue for your rights being broken. Like that, if you can prove it, can make up for pain, humiliation, and for the fact you have to go back. With such a long process, where most are done with their sentence or punishment by then, it's a joke.

They have an Internal Affairs here, but today in May I've been asking for over a month to report a beating where I only retaliated with words, yet I still haven't seen them. I even sent them a slip 10 times already, but no response.

They even have guards who are crisis Correctional Officers for men who are feeling really depressed, but these are the same guards who most don't trust because of what they do. When counselors are available, a guard, who isn't trained or trusted by the individual to discuss the issue, may not give consent and call the counselor for the patient when asked.

Notice not once did I refer to these men in any kind of criminal or demeaning term. They, like myself, made a mistake, but we are the people of Illinois family and we should be treated like people with rights. When they ridicule us without reason it isn't fair to punish us if we do it back, just because they are officers. Provoking fights and laying your hands on the disabled, when not attacked first, is wrong and illegal. No one has the right, no matter how much power they may have, to lay their hands on someone and then lie about it, especially the disabled.

Just ask yourself - why aren't the guards being arrested?

This is what's occurring to your fathers, nephews, cousins, uncles, brothers, and sons at Dixon Special Treatment Center. The fact is, what is occurring at Dixon STC is wrong.

MIM(Prisons) responds: As we've reported in ULK 15 on Mental Health in prisons, "In imperialist prisons, the ambiguity of diagnosing people as mentally ill becomes very pronounced. Part of the problem is that imprisonment causes mental health problems, so people who may not have had symptoms that would lead to a diagnosis often develop them." Prisons cause health problems, but revolutionary study and organizing is the best option to fight this oppression. Don't give in to the system, work with MIM(Prisons) to organize against the criminal injustice system and fight for the rights of all people.

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[Abuse] [Dixon Correctional Center] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 13]
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Prisoner driven to suicide

DSU hell

February 1, 2K10 I will start my suicide hunger strike. I am tired of being transferred, regardless of my psych/schizophrenic suicidal bipolar background. I figure at 1-2 months they should consider moving me to a hospital here at Dixon. I figure I will lose my voice at anywhere from 3-4 months. At 5 months I will be completely weak, the only muscles I figure will be able to move are my eyes. I have NO family or relatives, NO one. Besides, I am sure I am ready to go. The Assistant Warden Dirk Deuce and Warden Mrs. Nedra Chandler were informed of my suicide strike on January 4, 2K10. I also notified the court of claims of my plight/demise here. In fact, the courts might be in shock because I told them I am planning to kill myself.

I have nothing to lose or gain. My death is for my own dignity, respect, and love. My sacrifice is in my best interest. The reason for my suicide strike is because it is not likely I will ever have a cellie here or anywhere else. Moving me from one place to another will stop as of this letter. From here until I die, I will control my last months of 2K10. I see death as a good thing for me. People will try to talk me out of it, but this is stupid.

Trying to talk me out of this is futile or useless. I am taking my own life because it is in my best interest. Not only have I had many dreams where I take my own life happily, I feel as though I am going out/leaving with a degree of power and respect. Also I know for a fact that I will leave this year. The only way to keep me alive is to force food and water into my body. I do not want anything or miss anything.

I am sorry I will no longer be around to help MIM(Prisons). I love MIM(Prisons). MIM, I love your newsletters. I do not want to go off talking about the newsletter but I believe this is the best newsletter I ever got. I have received many educational books and theory from MIM(Prisons). I loved the poetry. I never liked poetry before. I love your Spanish network news. I am self-educated, through MIM's help. I am sorry I must leave you and everyone. It is in my best interest.

If these people do not transfer me to building 38 before February 1, 2K10 then it is too late. I will not go back on my word. Feb. 2K10 is me all the way. I hope they do not try to force food and water down my throat; I will resist. They have until the end of January to make a move or else. Please forget me if this is my last letter because I will not be in my right mind.

I love and respect all of my MIM brothers and sisters. But most of all I love myself, even though I will take my own life.

MIM(Prisons) Responds: We received your letter from earlier this month about your planned suicide hunger strike. We hope you are still with it enough to read this letter, and are willing to hear us out. We are not blind or numb to the horrible, tortuous effects of the imperialist injustice system, and we understand that there are endless reasons why someone could be driven to suicide. This is especially true if you are trapped inside the belly of the beast, in one of the cruelest manifestation of capitalism, inside of a u.$. prison.

We are not writing to tell you that you're exaggerating your despair, or that you shouldn't kill yourself because of some mystical reason like "sin." We are writing to remind you that your life is very valuable to the struggle to stop the same exact cruelties that have led you to this decision. We encourage you to become more involved in revolutionary struggle instead of suicide.

With this letter we have sent you an article from MIM Theory 9: Psychology and Imperialism entitled "Disavowing Suicide: Testimonial of a Woman Revolutionary." Her life experience may be somewhat different from yours, but her ability to turn her life into something useful for liberation and revolution is the same.

On page 41 of the article the author writes, "I remembered the Sartre quote in which he says that if you are not working on behalf of the oppressed, you are accomplice to their oppression." I think this quote is significant because it shows the political character of suicide. You wrote that you need to kill yourself to maintain some dignity and respect, but we would argue that you are just holding your life to bourgeois standards that aren't useful to stopping oppression. By proletarian standards, to truly have a life (or death) that maintains dignity and respect, one would have to devote their life to revolutionary struggle and the liberation of the oppressed. For someone like yourself, who supports the struggle against all forms of oppression, to remove your life as a resource from this world is to work in favor of the oppressors. You are helping the same oppressors you are trying to get away from with this hunger strike!

In your letter you wrote that you enjoyed the poetry on the pages of Under Lock & Key. This experience might be a good subject to write poetry about. Maybe you would like to write poetry for us? I sent you a poetry guide with this letter which will get you more of an idea of what we look for in poems.

note: Also see "Losing Battles," MIM Theory 5: Diet for a Small Red Planet, p.51. As Huey Newton said, there is Revolutionary Suicide and Reactionary Suicide. Most revolutionaries in the First World are suicidal to some degree in that they reject safety and security in favor of fighting for justice.

This article referenced in:
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[Abuse] [Stateville Correctional Center] [Menard Correctional Center] [Illinois]
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Widespread corruption in the IDOC

I have been fighting my criminal case for 16 years now and you could not possibly imagine, let alone fully comprehend the unbearable, deplorable and inhumane conditions prisoners endure on a daily basis at the States Maximum Security facilities in Illinois. In addition to having to exist in such a grim and cold reality, prisoners must function under a constant heightened sense of alert in anticipating prisoner upon prisoner, prisoner and staff, and staff upon prisoner assaults. The unwritten protocol, and attitude of prison administrators/staff are a "fuck you convict demeanor" and prisoners are mistreated, harassed, disrespected and provoked so badly by prison guards, prisoners are often left with no other alternative but to take matters into their own hands and brutally assault prison guards. What is most disturbing is the reality that prison guards themselves often instigate, provoke and engage prisoners in physical confrontations, and only the prisoners are criminally prosecuted, because no one wants to acknowledge the heinous, and criminal activity of prison guards.

In some instances prison guards have not only engaged prisoners in physical confrontations out of holding a revile towards prisoners, but in order to gain financially by filing civil actions, seeking promotions, days off, and politicking with prison administrators. The grievance procedure is a complete joke, because the very prison officials who oversee the grievance procedure do nothing more than lie, deny, and make every effort to conceal the egregious abuses of prison guards against prisoners, due to the liabilities involved, and simply because most prisoners are completely ignorant as to how to expose such abuses. I am what is stereotypically referred to as a jailhouse lawyer, because of the various Federal Civil Rights Actions I had or am currently pursuing against the corrupt prison officials/employees of the IDOC.

For years I have gone out of my way or have attempted to compel other prisoners to either pursue civil actions, bring such matters to the attention of public officials, news organizations, or law enforcement, because the horrendous abuses prisoner are subjected to daily throughout the IDOC is un-fuckin-believable. I have seen the news reports about the abuses of prisoners in Iraq, and Guantanamo and such prisoners are treated with dignity, in comparison to how we are treated in American prisons daily. I don't require some lawyer, judge, or politician explaining to me as to how the system works, because I certainly have enough life experience to realize how fucked up, corrupt, and racist are political, economic, and judicial structures truly are.

I was housed in the very same cell location as prisoner Leezer, just several months before this prisoner was murdered by his (Leezer's) cellmate. In fact, just several weeks before Leezer's murder, I personally forwarded a correspondence to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Warden, Director, and various news organizations, including the Chicago Tribune, about how prison administrators were deliberately, and recklessly endangering the health, and safety of prisoners, by housing prisoners two men per cell, despite such celling assignments being specifically designed to house one man per cell. I stipulated in said correspondence that such double man occupancy in a Maximum Security Facility has already lead to literally hundreds of well documented incidents of prisoners brutally assaulting their (prisoners) cellmates, due to prison administrators simply throwing anyone, and incompatible prisoners in the cell together.

To add insult to injury, despite hundreds of prisoner upon prisoner cellmate assaults being well documented, the great majority of such prisoner upon prisoner cellmate assaults go largely unreported and undocumented. I can't remember too many nights going by where I haven't heard body blows being struck, due to prisoners being involved in physical confrontations with their cellmates. One of the greatest contributing factors to prisoner upon prisoner cellmate assaults is prison administrators at the Stateville CC deliberately placing, and mandating that rival factions of gang affiliates being placed into the same cell together. No prisoner can be housed in a cell with another prisoner involved in the same or similar gang affiliation, so rival gang members who are killing themselves out in the streets are being forcibly confined into the same cell together in the prison system, and I'm dumbfounded that there isn't a prisoner/cellmate murder every few days.

I myself have been thrown into the segregation unit on several occasions for being involved in physical confrontations with my cellmates, cellmates which prison administrators themselves (prison officials) had me placed into the same cell with. In one instance I was given six months in the segregation unit @ the Menard CC for being brought up on charges of assaulting my cellmate, despite my numerous requests for a cell change/transfer. Due to the massive overcrowding issues plaguing the IDOC, prisoners who should never be placed into a cell with another prisoner under any circumstances, such as predators, which has only led to further instances of prisoners being savagely assaulted or even raped by their cellmates.

The most horrific factors pertaining to these matters is that, prisoners often go out of their way to avoid such altercations by requesting cell changes, filing grievances on the matter or even claiming their cellmates as enemies, yet prison administrators refuse to follow their own rules and regulations and simply don't give a fuck about prisoners assaulting themselves because it is simply the norm and an accepted practice. The only time any real fuss is ever made regarding physical confrontations is when prisoners are involved in physical confrontations with prison guards, because in these instances prison administrators really have to go out of their way to cover their asses.

These prisons are being run as if it was the medieval era. There are virtually no real educational or job training programs. Illinois State law mandates that prison officials afford prisoners at least one hour of cell activity daily, which often refers to recreational activity, yet prisoners are left to sit and brood within these cages for twenty three and a half hours a day with only a fifteen minute break for lunch and fifteen minutes for dinner. Prisoners are basically supposed to be afforded at least one hour of recreation/yard activity every day, but here at Stateville prisoners are only being afforded access to the prisons yards twice a week, and with the numerous lockdowns which often last for weeks, if not months, prisoners are lucky to obtain recreational activity several times every few months.

The meals served at these institutions are beyond repugnant and sickening. Many prisoners simply don't have the means to have relatives/friends forward funds on a regular basis and prisoners often rather starve than consume the road kill served to prisoners in this dungeon. The Stateville CC receives millions in funding from the state in order to serve prisoners proper diets, yet the food service supervisors receive large bonuses to curtail cost, which often means searching for the worst garbage to feed prisoners. Much of the good food that's supposed to be served to prisoners is often siphoned off/stolen and diverted to the officers kitchen, where prison guards enjoy free meals at the expense of the State of Illinois. How in the fuck the State of Illinois is subsidizing every meal which a prison employee consumes while on the clock/working is beyond me, especially considering the tremendous budget deficit the state is currently facing. It is simply unsustainable for the state to cover the cost of feeding every one of its employees, in addition to having to feed the entire prison population. The cost for feeding every employee here at Stateville alone is well in the millions of dollars every year, and this is taking place throughout the IDOC.

The employees of the IDOC are paid on average $45k a year and many of the Lieutenants and Majors receive salaries well beyond $80k a year, yet the state of Illinois is picking up the tab to feed these welfare recipients for every single meal consumed.

It is a social scientific and statistical fact that crime is driven by poverty, yet the overall prison population is literally cat down into these dismal tombs for years, if not decades to do nothing more than stand by idly, engage in further gang activity and only to be released ten times worse off than when entering the thunder dome. And despite 95% of the prison population ultimately returning to society, nothing is being done to actually better, education and train prisoners to become productive individuals. Upon release prisoners need to be able to provide for themselves, pay the bills, and be able to support our families. When you have a prison system allowed to function in such a cesspool of waste, corruption and mismanagement as the IDOC it is no wonder that so many prisoners return to the streets to continue to engage in gang activity, selling drugs, victimizing individuals and even murdering others, because it's all a prisoner has been instilled with and after years of being tormented degraded, and dehuamized, I'm stunned that a prisoner upon release has not driven back to one of these prisons to stalk, hunt down and brutally assault or murder one or more of these prison guards for the unspeakable evils that prisoners are subjected to regularly at these concentration camps.

I myself have various litigations pertaining to the overall prison conditions, retribution, etc which I have been subjected to and even despite my litigations prison guards/officials have made me a prime target for all manner of retribution. I possess a tremendous amount of statistical and legal documentation further supporting and proving my claims.

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[Education] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 9]
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Only the Educated are Free

Back in 100 A.D. a greek philosopher named Epictetus uttered these five words: "Only the educated are free." Today these five words ring true to a lot of us who find ourselves in residence behind the walls of the United States prison system. The U.S. has 5% of the world's population, yet is responsible for 25% of the world's prison population. 1 in every 31 adults in the United States is in jail, prison, or on some sort of supervised release. Now, with that in mind, we prisoners should have a strong voice, and I applaud MIM for trying to help us organize that voice for the common good.

Where do we start? Go back to the quote I opened with, and then take a look at MIM platform plank number one: Primary, secondary and college education free to the whole world. Let's localize that to ourselves for the time being. As "guests" of the prison system, we have lots of free time. In case you have not noticed, the government has no problem with us using all that time to play cards, watch TV, maybe take a few of their so-called "educational" programs and basically kick us out the door no better than we were when we came in. There are a ton of correspondence courses available to prisoners from many different colleges in many different disciplines. Apparently though, a criminal seeking a higher education, to better himself while behind bars, scares those in charge.

In 1994, the government stopped awarding Pell grants to prisoners to pay for their education. Considering that, by the Bureau of Prisons' own statistics, 40% was the average recidivism rate for parolees in general compared to only 5% for those with college degrees. So one would have to ask, why would the government choose to promote recidivism versus education? There are two simple answers: money and fear. The government makes too much money off of prison and the fruits of prison labor.

As for fear, the government is scared that the prison population will become educated, vocal and organized, which is exactly what needs to happen. Groups like MIM are going to make it happen. I encourage all of you to start a writing campaign. U.S. Senator Jim Webb has vowed to look at every aspect of our criminal justice system from top to bottom to "fix" it. Well, here's a chance to let our collective voice be heard. Encourage other prisoners to write, encourage your families to write:

Senator Jim Webb
248 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Ask why only the rich and the white collar criminals are deemed worthy of outside education and a realistic shot at not coming back to prison.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Send us copies of letters sent to Senator Webb so that we can also publicize this struggle. We also point our readers to Under Lock and Key issue #8 where we discussed in detail the economics of prisons. In reality the government is not making money off prison labor, but they are benefiting greatly from the social control provided by the prison system.

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