Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Massachusetts Prisons

Expand ULK. Send us $50 concealed cash with an address and we'll send you a stack of each issue for the next year. 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.

[Organizing] [Bristol County Sheriff's Office] [Massachusetts] [ULK Issue 34]
expand

Slow Progress as an Anti-Imperialist in Massachusetts

I've been through quite a lot in the six months or so since I've become involved in the anti-imperialist movement. Starting out in a state prison here in Massachusetts, I began by trying to devour as much literature as I could on our collective struggle. In order to digest the principles upon which our rebellion is based, I have tried to discuss the ideas with other prisoners. However, I found it incredibly perverse that so many other prisoners would posture and pay lip service to the principles yet when it comes down to forming any kind of movement they were cowed by the mere thought of the oppressor.

For example, I attempted to initiate a grievance campaign. There were actually people willing to get involved but I had to write up each individual grievance myself. Although this took up much of my personal time I gladly did it, and actually saw some results. The prison was serving rotten potatoes for about four years. Changed. Open shower drain in one shower with the possibility of serious injury. Fixed. Broken law library computer in the cell block. Fixed. Broken law library computer in segregation. Fixed. I suppose the grievances weren't all for nothing.

A couple of months ago I was transferred from state prison to a county jail to serve a separate sentence. Now I'm getting ready to file my first civil suits against this jail regarding the disciplinary process. Hopefully the changes that I seek will stop the current disciplinary staff from smoking everyone on their misconduct reports. Indeed, there is a lot of shady stuff going on in the disciplinary board office, especially the use of duplicate offenses to rack up extra segregation time as a tool of oppression and complete non-compliance with the jail's own policy and procedures regarding disciplinary hearings.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We get many letters from activists behind bars who are frustrated with the lack of interest and support from their fellow prisoners. There are several important things to keep in mind when thinking about why we can't quickly and easily unite all (or most) prisoners behind the anti-imperialist cause. First, prisoners come from the same wealthy society that, on the streets, keeps the vast majority of Amerikans supporting imperialism. While the class status of lumpen prisoners makes them more likely to take up anti-imperialism, they are not immune to the wealth and culture of Amerika.

Second, even where class and nation interests might put someone on the side of the anti-imperialist movement, we have some serious educational work to do to counter all the reactionary education they got for most of their life. While some will instinctively join the revolution, drawing correct conclusions from their own life and education, others will need patient education and observation of our practice. This is true in all revolutionary movements, and it is the job of our leaders, people who already see the importance of the anti-imperialist struggle, to approach people where they are at, and patiently provide them information and examples as we work to win them over. If we look at socialism in China in the 1960s, we see that even after seizing state power and all of their great achievements, they still had to wage a vigorous Cultural Revolution to combat bourgeois ideas all the way up to the Party's central committee. So we should not be surprised, nor get frustrated, by the resistance we face in the United $tates today.

It is victories like those grievance battles won, combined with education to give people the broader context for our struggle, that will help us to win supporters and turn them into new activists. Always keep in mind that you were not born an anti-imperialist. Someone had to provide you with education, information and/or examples. Now it is your turn to do the same for others.

chain
[Education] [Recidivism] [Massachussetts Correctional Institution Shirley] [Massachusetts]
expand

MCI Shirley: Welcome to the Murder Factory

Welcome to MCI Shirley Prison where low-level drug dealers are turned into murderers. Where minor felons are instilled with such anger and resentment that they are talking mayhem as they depart through the razor wire gates. Where un-professionalism and abuse are the norm and the seeds of future killings are being sown one thousand at a whack. It is a place where it is hard to distinguish the real criminals. Do they wear gray scrubs? Do they wear paramilitary jump suits and badges, do they wear a shirt and tie, or do they wear Dolce & Gabbana skirts with Prada shoes? It is truly hard to tell.

Young men enter MCI Shirley (or "ShirleyWorld" as it is largely known) thinking they may be able to get an education through college courses or the trades. Those hopes are dashed upon the rocks of guard overtime, administrative nepotism, and complete lack of any semblance of order. The warden is deaf, the deputy is dumb, and the captain is blind. This barrel of monkeys chews upon taxpayer dollars while the young prisoner is further separated from the societal norms the rehabilitative process was meant to instill. You can see the death in their eyes. It is scary.

This vast criminal conspiracy that is the department of corruption is as much a killer as Charles Manson or Adolph Hitler were. They see with perfect vision the folly of their ways but press on with malicious intent: premeditated job security equaling death in the Mattapan Corridor. Drunken guards bring in drugs and cell phones, take out their ire on weaker prisoners and all the while talk about pay raises, time off and pension plans. They are the thieves and murderers!

The prison system spends $517,000,000 per year to diminish the safety of the streets. Criminal guards suck up $360,000,000 of that yearly budget while rehabilitative programs and education are allotted only 2% of that budget. An equation which is designed for failure. It assures repeat customers but that assurance comes at the cost of far too many lives. When will you, the taxpayer, become outraged? When will your ire replace the apathy that belays commonsense? This is a state, a country, and a land that is founded in second chances.

If you were ever afforded the tragic opportunity to tread the pathways of MCI Shirley you would witness first hand the systemic failures. There are guards everywhere — sergeants, lieutenants, captains, and multitudes of line staff — but each and every day some rehabilitative aspect of the prison is shut down due to "under-staffing." It is a lie. The DOC has 5500 employees for about 12,000 prisoners. The guard's union has injected so much propaganda that even Hitler would be proud of their achievements.

The time has come to reorganize the prison budget, to use these vast taxpayer dollars to actually protect the safety of the public. We must terminate the excess of secretaries, deputies, assistants, aides, clerks, etc., and invest that revenue in expansion of the college degree program. Prisoners who earn that degree in prison do not come back: they do not commit any more crimes. The recidivism rate for in-prison Boston University graduates is less than 1%. The statewide recidivism rate has hovered at about 47% for over a decade. Did you know UMass offered to come into the prisons and provide college courses for free? The DOC rejected them. Did you know that Fitchburg State had a free program at ShirleyWorld but the facility failed to support it? The reason for the folly is that there is no money in it for the DOC to have these programs.

Prisoners need real job training. Prisoners need transitional housing in lower security prisons. Such prisons cost only a fraction of what it costs to run the higher security prisons as they need less staff. This is why the guard's union fights this at every turn. Please join forces with those who have a plan for real and effective public safety reform. the time is now for you to get involved.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade does a good job exposing the Massachusetts prison system's lack of interest in rehabilitation and education. It is true that in Massachusetts, and across the country, prisons are providing good jobs to guards who have formed strong unions to lobby effectively for expansion of the system. It is a system whose employees have every interest in expansion and no interest in rehabilitation. The very fact that education has been proven to dramatically reduce recidivism but prisons across the country have cut or eliminated education programs is clear evidence. Further, programs such as MIM(Prisons)'s led study groups are censored as a threat to the safety and security of the prison. It's not the criminal injustice system that cares about safety and security, they care about job security and social control. And prisons conveniently provide both: locking up the oppressed nation lumpen who might organize against imperialism and giving jobs to the labor aristocracy in the prisons.

But we disagree with this prisoner that tax payers are going to become outraged and fight this system. Both the social control and the good jobs are benefiting those tax payers. The labor aristocracy wants to protect it's own jobs: and the prison provides a good number of these. If tax money didn't go to prison jobs it would go to some other labor aristocracy services. And these would not be jobs benefiting the oppressed nation lumpen: that's not something tax payers are going to get behind. On the contrary, prison guard unions successfully campaign for more pay and funding for defending white power, unlike most labor unions.

With that said, we do think there is value in exposing the lack of safety and security in the current prison system. We may gain some allies in certain battles, people who will see that the streets of Amerika are objectively less safe. But we don't want to mislead them by appealing to their persynal interests and pretending that substantive change to the criminal injustice system is going to actually benefit them in the long run. Anti-imperialism is not in the interests of the majority of the Amerikan people, because they benefit financially from this system. And the criminal injustice system is an integral part of Amerikan imperialism.

chain
[Legal] [Massachusetts] [ULK Issue 19]
expand

Demand Access to the Massachusetts Secret Policy

MA DOC denies request for secret rules

I want to illuminate my thoughts regarding a "secret" Massachusetts DOC policy that this state utilizes to hold us for long stretches in solitary settings. We are frequently charged with violating a secret regulation (103 DOC 514), yet we have no access, nor does the public, to view this secret policy. The DOC expects us to abide by a regulation that we are not allowed to read.

103 CMR 430 seeks to ensure fairness in the prison disciplinary system by clearly defining and providing transparent notice of the procedures by which disciplinary issues are handled. If the goal of 103 CMR 430 is to promote order in the Massachusetts prison system and affect positive change in prisoner behavior, the applicable regulations, and standards, must be clear and readily available to the prisoners who are held accountable for transgressing these behavioral benchmarks. If they are not, the result on the prison population will be confusion, not conformity. Prisoners cannot change their behavior to abide by a set of regulations they are not allowed to view. We are owed due process under the 14th Amendment, but due process is not being afforded to us.

In Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 US 539 (1974), the Supreme Court held that advanced written notice of regulations a prisoner is allegedly violating is one of the minimum requirements of procedural due process. Furthermore, a common person could only guess at what does or doesn't constitute engaging in STG activity. Charging us continuously with STG-related offenses while denying us access to definitions of STG or STG activity conflicts with the purpose of 103 CMR 430, and the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. We must stand up and demand that the Massachusetts DOC reveal this secret policy!

chain
[Spanish] [Massachusetts]
expand

Ra'd sigue vivo en nuestra lucha

por MIM(Prisiones), Marzo 2010, publicado en ULK #13

Gracias a todo quien continua pasarnos información sobre lo que pasó a Amare "Ra'd" Selton, y por sus pésames. Aunque es difícil poder hablar conclusivamente sobre lo que sucedió el septiembre pasado cuando murió en Attica, se ha hecho más evidente que el DOCS era últimamente detrás lo que sucedió. Como nuestra camarada explica abajo, hay una lucha constante para muchos entre sobreviviendo para luchar y manteniéndose sano bajo la represión extrema. Para más sobre este tópico lea el articulo Prisionero empujado al suicidio.

Para aprender del sacrificio de Ra'd es estudiar la estrategia, y como ser efectivo en organizar para la justicia. Como materialistas, reconocemos también que las batallas ganables no serán posibles todo el tiempo .A veces no es una cuestión de si podemos ganar, sino solo cuestión de si luchamos o no antes de perder. En tal caso, nuestras estrategias debe en hacer que estas pérdidas servir como ejemplos para inspirar y exponer la injusticia. Ra'd continua inspirar a los que le conocían.

Un preso en Nueva York escribe:


Escribo para informarles y a mis camaradas de la muerte de mi mentor Amare "Ra'd" Selton. Que Alá bendiga su alma....Ra'd era mi pana, alguien que otro que le falta todo siempre admiró. Ra'd abrazaba a cualquiera que luchaba. Ra'd levantaba el ánimo a cualquiera que estaba triste. Si Ra'd observaba otro preso siendo asaltado por un guardia prestaría su ayuda como podía. Ra'd era un buen hermano, que Alá esté con él. Descanse en paz, ¡mantenga tu cabeza erguida Ra'd!

Otro preso en Nueva York escribe:


Estuve en el SHU con Amare en 2003. Es un verdadero rebelde con una causa. Que descanse en poder! El nunca fue el tipo suicida, era un guerrero, un luchador de libertad que tenía 25 años hasta la vida, así que buscaba la libertad por cualquiera manera, aun la muerte.

Tenía horas para hablar con y siempre expresaba su teoría Musulmana y su puesta contra el imperialismo y supremacía blanca, que coincidió con su muerte, lo cual estoy seguro fue a las manos de los puercos. Era una amenaza, por eso lo tenían aislado en SHU por periodos de tiempo largos.

Me conecté con él inmediatamente al conocerle porque tenía una pasión por resistir la opresión y la brutalidad a las manos de las guardias. Por eso, saber que fue matado por estos puercos me rompe el corazón. Estos puercos evitan el castigo como lo evitan en las calles después de matar un hermano/a negro/a o moreno/a que no estaba armado/a: se convierte en homicidio justificado. Esto no puede continuar suceder sin algún tipo de resistencia organizada. No se puede hablar de las resoluciones amigables ni pacíficos con esos puercos sádicos porque no lo respetan. Para ser honesto, no quiero morir en la cárcel. Soy más valioso en las calles, organizando, pero hay un límite a lo que puedo aguantar en este infierno. No soy reaccionario, pero ¡tenemos que demandar nuestro respeto de cualquier manera!

chain
[Abuse] [Massachusetts]
expand

Fighting Pig Brutality in Massachusetts

I've recently received the latest issue of ULK 9, July 2009. I must clench my fist and pound my chest to salute all who contribute to make ULK happen, for it is a contributing factor in allowing us all over the world to know and become aware of the conditions and ongoing struggle inside amerika's koncentration kamps.

I'm currently at a Massachusetts Maximum Security prison due to my affiliation (ALKQN) and undying will to be free. I haven't come across too many conscious comrades or even unity amongst the people inside this prison. Although the other day I experienced a feeling this ink-drop will never be able to describe. Two slave-keepers (correctional guards) aggressively jumped on a fellow comrade (we are located in a controlled unit setting, 96 total capacity).

Me and the comrades who were out 30-35 in total (all races) immediately took to the incident, got between the slave keepers, removed and protected the comrade they jumped on. As more kops rushed in to back up their own, armed with billy bats, shields, chemical agents, etc. (approximately 50 in total), we stood our ground and stood up to the oppressor pigs. They asked for peace.

To anyone who is reading this: that is true freedom. I don't care how long you've been in the belly, or how much time you are doing, we must come together as one oppressed people, no matter your affiliation, organization, or set you claim. We must stand up to the injustices as one people, and for the people. That's keeping it true to who you are and the flag you fly.

chain
[Control Units] [Massachusetts]
expand

Oppressing Latino's In Mass

...I'm a Prisoner in the Maximum joint. I'm Puerto Rican and have been in this toilet for fifteen years. Right now these low-lifes [guards] are hitting the Latino people hard. 90 percent of all Latinos are being accused of being a gang member, so they made four special blocks for the Latino people. You come out of your cell one hour a day, not everyday. Three showers a week. One hour a week in the yard, outside.

The racist low-life cops just harass everybody, and most dudes don't even speak English. No jobs, no nothing. Now we can't even take their so-called education program. We get two hours a week in the law library. There are no Spanish-speaking people down there to help anybody out.

This started back in April of 1995. I was there [Latino Segregated Block] for two years. Then I was transferred to DDU [Disciplinary Detention Unit]. You know the DDU is much better than those Plymouth Blocks.

I just filed a lawsuit, but I can't even get the right help. I don't have access to anything. I'll keep you posted on things. Y'all stay strong....
In the struggle!

chain
[Control Units] [Massachussetts Correctional Institution Cedar Junction] [Massachusetts]
expand

SEGREGATION SHUFFLE

Dear MIM, ... I have not received anything since March. Being in D.D.U., I would have guessed that my mail was being help up or turned away. But I have a bit of a story for you.

On July 2, 1997, I was released from D.D.U. at 9:00 am. I was assigned a cell out in population. I cleaned this cell's walls, floor and the toilet before I fixed up my stuff in the places I wanted it to be placed.

At 2:30 in the afternoon, I was done. And no sooner had I sat down than 7-10 officers were at my cell door ordering me to cuff up. I asked why and was ignored. I asked to see the captain and was denied. After a while, I cuffed up and I was brought back to D.D.U. for no reason, with no explanation. That's how dirty they are here in Walpole State Prison.

In Struggle,
— A Massachusetts Prisoner

P.S. I even got the same cell back in D.D.U. (How nice)

chain
[Control Units] [Massachussetts Correctional Institution Cedar Junction] [Massachusetts]
expand

Prisoner in Massachusetts exposes isolation

I am a prisoner confined in the state of Massachusetts at
M.C.I. Walpole State Prison and has been confined in the
state as well as the Federal Bureau of Prisons since October
27, 1974 for various crimes. When I was first sent to M.C.I
Walpole in 1974 I thought [...] it was one of the worst
prisons in the country along with San Quentin, Attica,
Michigan, etc.

There was nothing but rebellion against the oppressor (the
guards) who was assaulted, maimed, and forced out of the
prison by way of injury acquired on duty or retirement
because we as solid convicts could not be controlled.

In August 1979, Ax-Handle Fenton who was the warden at the
federal prison at Marion and Lewisburg was found guilty of
beating prisoners off the bus at Lewisburg. He became a
consultant for the Department of Corrections and thereafter
locked up the whole prison and shipped out a lot of the
incorrigibles, un-desirables and not wanted convicts to
other state segregation units and as far as to various
Federal prisons. This tactic of shipping convicts out of
Walpole state prison on four (4) separate periods within
1979, 1980 and through 1995.

[...]The way it is now Massachusetts has a control unit
which is called the Department Disciplinary Unit (DDI) and I
would like to hear if there is any other state or federal
control unit where convicts is not allowed to purchase any
canteen with the exception of stamps. We are not allowed to
purchase food from the canteen, and the maggot officers is
the only ones who passes out the food trays. And due to the
facts convicts be working out in the cells or has to eat
what little food they are given. The swines is taking it
upon thereself to adulterated our food trays with spit, mice
droppings, human feces, un-authorized medications (this is
only being done to certain convicts) in retaliation because
there might be grievances filed against them, assaults them,
or the reasons of the placement in the DDU. There is some
inmates, prisoners, convicts that is aware that these swines
officers is tampering with the food and some of the
responses is that "oh it aint happen to me" well how would
you know? If there is a swine that dont like you or be
accident given anyone the wrong tray then you got it.

Its time to stop and allowing tub swine cops to do whatever
they want and nothing is not being said or done. They
already had took the contact visits, personal cloth, canteen
items, yard- recreations. Its time to wake up and stop the
maddness that there doing because it affects us all.

chain
[Control Units] [Massachusetts]
expand

Control Units: Department of Corrections targets politically conscious prisoners with technology that tortures

According to the US Constitution, citizens get due process and are not punished merely for whom they associate with. In the reality like at Walpole prison — Latino prisoners are being systematically denied these "rights" as they are categorized as being in "security threat groups" (politically organized, what pigs call "gangs") with scant evidence of membership and no evidence of wrongdoing.

The Department of Corruption's crusade against socially and politically organized prisoners is all about increasing repression. Selectively targeting Latinos for special lockdown units — between 90-95% of those in the units are Latinos — it is a particularly clear case of prisons as an instrument of national oppression.

The "gangs" targeted are the Latin Kings, la Familia, and la Nieta. La Nieta is considered by many not to be a "gang" in the traditional sense at all, but more of a prisoner rights group. Regardless, all three groups have potential as base areas of support for Latino liberation.

There are no hearings to determine who is a "gang" member. There is simply a questionnaire-type form that is filled out by the pigs. It has a point system, with each "criterion" having a set amount of points. If a prisoner gets ten or more points, he is considered a "gang" member. A "known group tattoo," for example, is 8 points. Obviously the pigs don't have a good grasp of the subtleties of tattoos, and one on any Latino can be perceived as a "known marking." Never mind if the prisoner got it ten years ago, it's supposed evidence of current association. That plus something small like possession of some "gang" documents, a "secret handshake" or association with pig-identified members, and the prisoner is doomed to never go below minimum security for the duration of his sentence. Those labeled gang members receive extreme sensory deprivation which has been shown to cause mental problems and is internationally recognized as a method of torture. They are only out of their cells for one hour for four out of every five day cycle, and if they work out they cannot shower the same day.

Such treatment is a violation not only of the U.$. constitution, but also of international law. This is more evidence that the so-called Justice System has little to do with justice and everything with protecting the imperialist system.

RAIL has been campaigning for an end to the current Mass control units and to prevent more from being built as planned. We want to stop this weapon of political torture as well as expose the whole corrupt system. So far, we have gathered hundreds of signatures on petitions, which have been sent to friendly media as well as the DOC and government officials. As long as there is injustice, the people will not be silent!

chain
Go to Page 1