Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Maryland 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.

[Organizing] [North Branch Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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Maryland Prison Labor Organization (N.B.C.I. Chapter)

The Maryland Prison Labor Organization (MPLO) exists for the purpose of defending and preserving the rights and dignity of the incarcerated working class men and women, who are confined to correctional facilities within the State of Maryland.

Maryland’s incarcerated workers contend daily with abusive staff, inequitable compensation, unsafe or unsanitary working environments, arbitrary termination, inadequate health care, poor diet, and inhumane conditions of confinement.

As a collective and as a Class, we find this set of circumstances unacceptable, therefore our mission is to amend these circumstances by securing social and economic justice for the thousands of imprisoned laborers who have been exploited by Maryland’s Department of Corrections, and who continue to endure such exploitation as a consequence of the labor arrangement that persists behind the walls of Maryland’s correctional facilities.

We are conscious of the fact that the labor we provide is critical to the orderly and efficient functioning of the Department, and as a result of the aforementioned realities, We, the members of the MPLO, seek the following changes to the current labor arrangement within the state’s prisons:

  1. Higher Wages.
  2. Equitable Good Conduct Credit Compensation.
  3. An end to Arbitrary Adjustment & Reclassification.
  4. An end to Oppressive Conditions of Confinement, including Excessively Restrictive Management Systems, Overcrowding, and Abuse by Guards & Administration.
  5. An end to malicious social engineering practices that are designed to cause friction, foment conflict, and incite violence amongst incarcerated citizens.
  6. An end to collective punishment.
  7. Increased access to economically relevant vocational & technical skills training, including that which is currently made available by the DLLR. We also seek access to state sponsored college education.
  8. Increased access to cognitive programs currently available at the prison.
  9. Higher quality food and more sizeable portions.

For the reasons mentioned herein, the Maryland Prison Labor Organization is hereby established for the benefit of its members, and for that of the entire incarcerated working class within the state of Maryland.

Commissioned 19th of May 2019.

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[Organizing] [United Front] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 63]
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Building Unity to Fight Abuses in Maryland

My celly and myself formed a small coalition between my brothers and his brothers, red, blue, white, even hispanics to speak out against the administration (the real enemy) about their abuse of power and their negligence. We strategically created conversation and before you know it the whole housing unit was in an uproar. We had planted the seed. Now, without organization, we tend to turn our anger and frustrations into violence and destruction, which is a losing battle. So, we pushed that pen, which turned out to be mightier and more effective than the sword. We wrote Administrative Remedy Procedures (ARP), the Inmate Grievance Office (IGO), the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS), commissioners, the Deputy Secretary of Operations, and even the Governor, Larry Hogan, himself.

The issues we raise weren't addressed, so we're still waiting for responses. But regardless if we're denied any relief and we are aware of those possibilities, we created a solid peaceful foundation for unity and realized who the real oppressors are. So as long as we support each other's positive causes we are making forward progress, in the opposite direction of negativity. One step at a time!

Some brothers feel we won't get any relief because the administration do what they want. So I ask them, "if they ain't giving us this and taking that already, how is filing complaints and grievances and them not giving us any relief hurting?" "They doing what they want without so much as an inklet of rebuttal, so how do you lose writing them up?" Then I wait... No response.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Elsewhere in this issue of ULK the point is raised that leading includes showing victories, and not just talking about them.

Committed revolutionaries know that building a movement strong enough to end oppression worldwide is a huge task that takes years and years, and we're going to have lots of small failures along the way. But when building with new recruits, we need to be careful to not lead them down a dead end, in a way that discourages them and undermines unity building. Building initial interest should be energizing. It should inspire people.

At the same time, we can use our organizing defeats as opportunities for education. As this writer is doing, creating a foundation for unity and clarifying who are the real oppressors is a victory in and of itself. But we should be clear with people that there's a good chance we won't win grievances. This doesn't mean the time was wasted, because we've put the administration on notice that we won't take their bullshit lying down. Where we anticipate few victories we need to think creatively about how to inspire people to action and help them understand how this work fits into the larger struggle so that movement building is a victory in and of itself.

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[Abuse] [Eastern Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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We need to publicize abuse in Maryland prisons

I call out all the brothers and sisters on the East Coast especially to Maryland to let your voice be heard. Over the years I been reading a lot of progressive literature including but not limited to Prison Legal News, BayView, Lawyers Guild, Under Lock & Key, News and Letters, and MIM(Prison), just to name a few. However I have never run across an article from our comrades in Maryland prisons.

Why are these brothers and sisters in the Maryland prison system so silent while there is so much to expose in regards to the daily oppressions that we face daily at the hands of Mr. Charlie?

Why is there no mentioning that the Western Correctional Institution – ECI housing unit 4 – Segregation unit continuously steals the inmates foods, stamps, cosmetics and even foot wear when they are housed in HU4? We are talking about the officers stealing the residents properties with impunity.

Why there is no mentioning of said ECI staff refusing to issue ARP and appeal forms to residents and when you complain they retaliate with lock-up, butt naked cells and if you are fortunate transfer. I know as I am in federal court with them right now.

Why are there no mentions of the continuous increase in commissary items, but no increase in the inmate wages for more than a decade. Imagine going to school for a meager wage of $18-19 monthly? Yet, 10 stamps = $5, toothpaste = $3, two next one soap = $1, a deodorant = $3 and $5 to phone. That’s $17 and you had not even gotten a noodle.

How about these fallacious infractions being written against the brothers. They are then offered 30-60 days seg. And if they fight, albeit innocent they will be found guilty then given 180 days on the regular. Why should a former officer at an institution become that institution's regular hearing officer. That's a conflict of interest. That is the case at WCI in Cumberland and their hearing officer, Sipes, he was a former Correctional Officer and is familiar with all the staffs who write these bogus tickets to deprive brothers of their good days and early release.

What about all the doors on lockup now being chained shut with leg irons, i.e. cell 2&3 bath have a pair of leg irons connecting each doors together. If a fire starts inmates are going to perish as they will not be able to open all these doors in time. I noticed on numerous occasions it took them minutes to open up a normal handcuff. Sometimes, they have to call another officer to assist, or to borrow another key in order to open handcuffs. In reality, there is a fire hazard waiting to happen, also a violation of the fire marshall code.

Why is there no mention of ECI administration banning the serving of coffee on lockup because I complained about it being served cold?

There is so much stuff for brothers within the Maryland system to enlighten the public about, yet we are all silent. Are we all complacent or scared of what Mr. Charlie might take from us why are we resigned to this oppression?

Wake up my brothers and sisters in Maryland, there are work to be done. Banging is not all, we need to get work, to get outside and often brothers and sisters to know about our plight. We need to unite to let others know about us.

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[Gender] [Organizing] [North Branch Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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How do Violence and Class Fit Into Prison Organizing?

I received the book that you sent me and the ULK newsletter. I agree with the line that all sex is rape and that the majority of the white working class in the United States is not a revolutionary force due to the fact that they have a material interest in maintaining imperialism on a global stage.

I been doing organizing and educational work. I been helping showing others how to fill out grievance forms. I end up getting 100% participation from all cadres on lock up down at Jessup Correctional Institution. As you can see my address changed. They moved me to Maximum security prison North Branch, it is the most secure prison at Maryland. Due to my organizing and assault on COs at Jessup they raised my security level.

We had to move the struggle to the physical level because they was not respecting our grievance forms; they was ripping them up. When the grievance process fails the physical level is the next step. I am not a focoist. But when oppressive tactics are used by the imperialist blood suckers of the poor then violence is the next step.

I don't think that the drug problem is getting any better. A lot of brothers are getting high off of the medication these nurses are giving out which is nothing but another form of social control that is used by the imperialist system. Everything under this capitalist system is abnormal. The people will only begin to see the value of people through the transitional stage of socialism. Individualism is what majority of citizens value. We as communists must continue to struggle and fight to win the people over.

I have political debates all the time with capitalists. They don't see how the means of production should be collectively owned by the people. I been raising the class consciousness elucidating to comrades how the Democratic party and the Republican party will not exist without perpetuating social conflict amongst the people and how racism and classism is inextricably built into the capitalist system.

One thing about a lot of women is they don't like the inequality and sexism but when you ask them do they believe we should abolish the current system a lot of them will say no! A lot of women are willing to put up with inequality and sexism because they have a material interest. I agree with this line that sexism will always exist under this capitalist system even during the transitional stage which is socialism. Classism is the worst social ill that we have in our society, to me classism is a disease it takes a long time to cure. I am a blackman from a low income community. A lot of women I talk to are ignorant to communism. They have a bad perception about it due to imperialist propaganda. I would like to learn more about Mao Zedong. Please send some knowledge about Mao Zedong.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We have a lot of unity with this writer about the nature of class, nation and gender oppression in the imperialist world today. But we see national oppression as the main problem today, not class. This is because imperialism is built on a system of nations oppressing other nations. That oppression is economically exploitative, and in many ways parallels class oppression. But recent history has shown revolutionary nationalism to be the form that the most successful anti-imperialist organizing has taken. We will have the best success against imperialism by pushing national liberation struggles. And these in turn will push forward the class struggle.

We also want to comment on the question of organizing strategies becoming physical. Change can't occur without action that has consequences. And ultimately an oppressor that uses force to control must face a response of force before that oppression can be ended. But as Sun Tzu taught in the Art of War, the enemy must be truly helpless to be defeated. Comrades must be careful to plan actions so that they don't just result in greater repression. Leaders getting locked up in isolation doesn't advance the movement. Everyone needs to evaluate their own conditions to determine what's the best organizing approach and what's necessary for self-defense. And self-defense should not be confused with revolution.

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[Abuse] [Control Units] [Jessup Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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Ad-Seg, Repression at Jessup for Demanding Basic Rights

First and foremost I would be remiss of my duties if I don't give my strongest to all of the comrades, both in here and out there, currently engaged in the struggle. My clenched fist goes out to you all! I am currently returning to you from 31 months of Administrative Segregation and several transfers on the grounds of "... Your continued behavior documents that you are not able to conform to the rules and regulations of the institution and/or the Division of Corrections". I have had all of my mail and pictures thrown away, property "lost", been fed seg-loaf, and had numerous ARP (Administrative Remedy Procedure) filings ignored. Are these actions not against the rules and regulations of the institution and/or the Division of Corruption? And the whip doesn't stop cracking there; I was "released" from Ad-Seg on 2 May 2017, and here I find myself back here on Ad-Seg a mere six days later under the guise of "Reasons exist to believe that you are dangerous to the security of the institution and/or inmates and/or staff ... Pending transfer." Then here goes this talking swine D. Roman, Lt. who is the intel officer her at Jessup Corruption Institution giving innuendos to what I already know stating "You have really pissed some people off" and to this all I have to say is yup, and I'm not done yet! Not until me and every other prisoner for that matter, start receiving the rights we're entitled to. And we are going to continue writing our ARPs, refusing you commissary, and holding our slots until we get 'em. We will not fight this fight on our backs. It has been a long and tedious battle and journey for me, but I will not give up. No surrender no retreat!

I would like if you could please re-new my subscript[ion to ULK. In the course of being on Ad-seg, and the COs doing me dirty by throwing away my mail, I lost a lot of valuable information, addresses, and contacts; you guys being one of them. Luckily I was recently, fortunately, ran across another comrade who also receives ULK subscriptions. The last subscription I received was touching on fighting gender oppression in prison I think in ULK 39 or 40 or so. If it's possible could you please send me every subscription from them to catch up? It would be most appreciated. Also, I have 2 stamps enclosed in this letter. I wish I could do more but this was all I could afford at the moment. With that I leave as I come, with respect always.

Penda
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[Abuse] [Maryland]
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Rebellion Against Abuse is Needed

Inmates have no rights of due process inside of prison, and the administration always sides with the word of a correctional officer, even if they are proven to be lying or have done wrong. Some violated rights that all inmates across the country suffer from while in prison are denial of visits if family members who have traveled a long way are even a minute late, denied showers to prisoners, denied phone calls, cut recreation time and frequently used unprofessional and foul language when talking to prisoners.

This is oppression on top of already being oppressed. Demand in solidarity from all prisoners across the country is needed. Demand of an independent investigation, separate from the prison administration, of conditions inside prison. A crucial aspect of such an investigation should include members of the communities being able to conduct uncensored interviews with inmates in order to gather information without the prisoners facing retaliation. Now is the time for all of us to rise up together in solidarity in all prisons as well as our outside forces who have the ability to protest. My dream is to see 1000 people outside this prison with t-shirts, signs and banners while the gangs inside prison are strategically mobilized by political leaders such as myself to overthrow this oppression and reach the demand of due process in all prisons for prisoners. If we don't take a stand now, all institutions will change for the worse.

Rebellion is the only possible outcome given mistreatment from correctional officers inhumane conditions in prison and the administrations refusal to investigate.

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[Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Roxburry Correctional Institution] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 53]
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ULK is a Wake Up Call

Today I read ULK 50 and I must say you've piqued my interest. I am part of an organization that has come to be viewed as a gang by society in its own right. Meaning the majority of us conduct ourselves as such. We are said to be forged out of concepts of the Black Panther Party, Black Liberation Army, and Black Vanguards (a movement within the prison system headed by George Jackson). Many of us, including myself, were turned on to this way of life under the impression that we will liberate our communities from drugs, end black-on-black violence, stop the prison cycle, create economic stability, promote a political consciousness, establish a strong unity, etc. But on a daily basis we do the opposite. The attempt to change our criminal mindset to a revolutionary mindset has failed expeditiously here in Maryland. I'm from Baltimore City where there is little or no unity at all amongst any of the organizations or gangs that will be the forefront of the fight!

I often find it hard to change one's comfort zone. Here, if a man is comfortable in his everyday life, my trying to change his/her way of living will be looked at as a threat. No matter if I'm right or not.

I'm currently being housed at Roxbury Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, Maryland. Since I've been locked up I've been in senseless fights, and involved in meaningless disruptions. Our biggest problem here is drug use! I'm not a drug user but I often assist those who do. Many of us use the profits to take care of our loved ones on the street, or ourselves in here. The police know these things because, how do you think it gets here. I don't knock anybody's hustle. But I recognize how it gets us off our true purpose, which is freedom.

In population there are only 4 phones on the tier. These 4 phones are dictated by those with influence in general population. We subject ourselves to more oppression than does the oppressor himself. I'm looking for ways to begin to change my environment. I'm on lockup right now and reading ULK has given me a wake up call on who I should truly be. As of right now I have about 4 more years until I'm released. With that said I would ask that MIM(Prisions) begin to educate me on what it truly means to be a revolutionary by first sending me basic Maoist, Marxist, and Leninist literature.

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[United Front] [Jessup Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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Call for Lumpen Unity against Oppression in Maryland

I am reaching out to you all out of sheer respect. There is not enough of this in our (Black folk) community. Secondly, shout out to the entire USW, MIM, the conscious Blood, Crip, Gangsta Disciple Black Guerrillas, Chicano and global prison movements for y'all efforts to advocate and assist in the struggle. You all, I view as brethren, you who are not amongst the delusional.

Our (Damu, Cuz, Gangsta Disciple, Black Guerrillas, etc.) war shouldn't be amongst or against each other because none of us, the above factions, didn't arrive out of happenstance. Poverty, disfunctional homes, no fathers, Willie Lynch syndrome, ignorance, oppression, the need for camaraderie and illegal/legal servitude created the machines we operate. Our mission is to teach the youth and uneducated people around us the real cause of the revolution. Whether it be just transforming itself. We have to educate our brothers; not just with codes, hand language (gang signs), and crime; but knowledge, wisdom and understanding, to actually fight for a purpose.

The upper class black folk has lost their fire and direction. Since the oppressor's foot has been raised from their necks to their backs, they no longer "care" to fight or contribute to our cause. Dissension is the beast that no longer bothers them. It is going to take for us all to inspire, infuse and move the masses. And it starts with those of us within these quasi asylum institutions and concentration camps our oppressors hold us captive in. I am not talking about making an alliance, I simply mean coming together in solidarity. Jessup Correctional Institution and other prisons around the world are the way they are because we all, who have the power to control ourselves and inspire others, won't take a stand and we continue to accept being in separation.

I can't say all the things I really want to because the administration might place on me the Mumia Gag Act like they have Mumia Abu Jamal. Snitches, rats, informants, toms and division dictates the quarters we are all confined to. Divide and conquer has ruled over us far too long. We know the problem, enemy and war waged against us, so now we have to help solving it.

I work to inspire all brothers to act in the revolution. No matter your banner, you all have many soldiers who look up to you and men who will follow you, the leaders of the lumpen organizations, to the fiery depths of hell. Why not compel education upon them? Self destruction has ruined us for years, and in turn we become enforcers of the government when we continue to let the men and youth we all call our so-called homies, cuz, and comrades rep with a destructive state of mind. Take much time to ponder what I said. Remember, blood makes us related but loyalty makes us family. I leave as I came, in struggle.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This writer's call for unity amongst lumpen organizations fits well with the United Front for Peace in Prisons. There is tremendous potential power in this unity, as is demonstrated in the California Agreement to End Hostilities and series of hunger strikes to fight long term isolation and group punishments. We hope others in Maryland will step forward to build unity with this comrade and the various groups behind bars.

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[National Oppression] [Maryland]
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Stats Show National Oppression in Maryland Prisons

I'm incarcerated in a Maryland State Prison where 76.2% of prisoners are Black (15,386 of the state's 21,194 prison population). Blacks are 18.9% of the state population according to the 2010 census statistics. The state is dominated and governed by white so-called liberals. The laws are enforced unequally, the courts are inherently racist, and the prison population illustrates the disproportionate number of Blacks locked up. Maryland is another Ferguson, Missouri, especially the city of Baltimore where 72% of the Black prison population comes from.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Prisons within the United $tates are used as a tool of national oppression. It was the revolutionary nationalist movements of the 60s and 70s, most notably the Black Panther Party, which terrified the Amerikan government and led to a dramatic rise in imprisonment rates, focused on oppressed nations. As the book The New Jim Crow documented, from the police to the courts to the prisons and back onto the streets systematic national oppression demonizes oppressed nations as an excuse for this imprisonment. We would not just call the courts "racist" though, because racism is an attitude, and we think this goes much further than just attitudes. National oppression is systemic in the courts, and a fundamental part of imperialist economics in general.

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[United Front] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 42]
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New Afrikan Uhuru Movement Joins United Front for Peace in Prisons

I have incorporated the principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons into the fabric of my organization here in the penal colony in the state of Maryland. We are the New Afrikan Uhuru Movement, and our aim is to elevate the level of consciousness of the convict class from that of a criminal mindset to a socio-political revolutionary consciousness.

We have adopted MIM as our educational ministry. Our educational curriculum is designed to render to each member, and civilian supporter, a contemporary approach to revolutionary ideology aimed at destroying this machine called capitalism. We are educating our comrades about the evils of imperialism, and economic exploitation and political alienation of the proletariat. We believe firmly in the dictatorship of the proletariat. We are resolved in the belief that the class system produced by capitalism must be destroyed. We believe that the western global aspiration of "democracy" is nothing more than a cover for hegemony.

Based on the implementation of the 5 principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons we have systematically reduced the level of violence and exploitation of prisoners against prisoners greatly. We have a long way to go but we believe that political education is the key to our liberation. Thank you for your continued support and count us among your extended branches.

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