Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Missouri 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] [Missouri]
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Pick Your Hand: Oppression or Liberation

I just got done reading Retaliation for Hunger Strikes and New Protest Ideas in ULK 26. My prayers go out to the comrades in the California prisons and every other state’s human warehouses who have to suffer from retaliation when we exercise our rights. Although Missouri isn’t gang affiliated as bad as most states. We still suffer from racist DOC workers who enjoy making our time hard.

I want to touch on what the CA writer said about prisoners running scared. Man this is common here as well. It’s hard to get unity in a place that only wants to divide and conquer. Why would these professional kidnappers want us to unite? They know when we turn against each other, some will eventually turn against themselves. When this happens we as a whole crumble like cookies in a closed fist.

I like to use this metaphor a lot when I am talking through my cell door to other comrades. Picture this, in one hand you have some sugar, in the other hand you have feces (shit). Now there comes a time in everyone’s life to choose what they want so they can push forward in life. You have to pick which hand you want to live with, because sugar and feces do not mix!

Every state human warehouse has it’s own ways of suppressing us. We as a whole should never look at another comrade across this racist country as if we’re better off where we’re at, with comments like, “at least we don’t have to go through what their going through.” No, you’re wrong for saying this or even thinking this way. Each of us are comrades (soldiers) in this struggle and when one comrade hurts we should all feel it. When one comrade falls down after so many battles with these racist pigs, then we all should help him up and protect his mind, because let’s remember they may have our bodies, but they will never get our minds unless we give it to them.

So let’s choose the hand with sugar in it. Stop the cookies from crumbling and unite as a whole. Then enjoy the sweetness of overcoming our oppressors. Keep fighting CA comrades and know you’re supported even though I’m in Missouri. Do what you have to do to let them know. But stay healthy in the process. A soldier, a comrade always stays in training, both mentally and physically. Stay up and always stay real!


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade demonstrates in practice how to uphold the Unity principal of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. “WE strive to unite with those facing the same struggles as us for our common interests. To maintain unity we have to keep an open line of networking and communication, and ensure we address any situation with true facts. This is needed because of how the pigs utilize tactics such as rumors, snitches and fake communications to divide and keep division among the oppressed. The pigs see the end of their control within our unity.”

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[Racism] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 27]
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More News About Missouri Please

I have some concerns about articles that are from California prisons. Aren’t these same things going on in Missouri prisons as well? There are Trayvons happening everyday in Missouri, but no one talks about it. In Missouri prisons you can’t even come together for a strike or anything else because if you do you will be put in SHU.

All I am asking my brothers and sisters of MIM(Prisons) is to please take a look at these Missouri prisons.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We appreciate this comrade’s desire to see more in Under Lock & Key about what’s going on in prisons in h state. But this is really a call to h, and others who feel their state is underrepresented in ULK, to send us articles. We rely on our readers for news. Become a correspondent and send regular articles about what’s going on in your prison and you will see more news about your state in ULK. Ask for a copy of our writing guide to get started.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Potosi Correctional Center] [South Central Correctional Center] [Crossroads Correctional Center] [Southeast Correctional Center] [Missouri]
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Missouri Forces Fights, Brutalizes Prisoners

I have been incarcerated in the Missouri Department of Corruption since 1997. Over these many years I have been confined to seven different “camps” within the state of “Missery.”

I have seen prisoners maced and beat severely at Potosi Correctional Center in the late 90s. Officers there would routinely chain prisoners up “hog tied” like and leave them lying in their cells. Rather than move prisoners that didn’t get along or otherwise weren’t compatible they would make them fight and in two instances I know of, prisoners were murdered by their cellmates.

All over the state it is common practice to place completely incompatible people in a cell together. Guys with life without parole being celled with prisoners with only a matter of months left in their sentence.

At Crossroads Correctional Center I saw a sergeant kick a “chuck-hole” closed on one prisoner’s arm. Another sergeant grabbed a prisoner in a reverse headlock and dropped said prisoner on his face using all his own body weight. Prisoners with asthma or other health problems are sprayed with pepper spray.

All over the state it is common for prisoners to be “free-cased” for violations or crimes they had nothing to do with because a scape-goat was needed in a hurry to save face or out of animosity issues between staff and prisoners.

At South Central Correctional Center prisoners were “free-cased” for another prisoner’s murder because the institution needed scape-goats to cover up their own incompetency in running a safe and secure ‘camp’ and insufficient security equipment.

All over the state there are prisoners on a status termed “long term mandated single-cell confinement.” This security status has no set end, no guidelines and no governing policies or any unit set aside for such a special security status. There are men on this status who have been confined solidarity for over ten years.

At South East Correctional Center things are to a point where at the time of this writing there are prisoners eating foreign objects such as ink pens, screws, and any item obtainable (in one case the ear stem of a pair of eye glasses) to express the need to be transferred away from the tyrannical oppression found in this backward run facility.

All over the state prisoners are housed in single-man cell units with prisoners with severe mental illness so they are subjected to round the clock beating on walls and sinks, yelling and screaming, smearing and throwing feces, urine, etc. Lights are left on or shut off per the whim of the officers.

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[Organizing] [Missouri]
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Drawing Hunger Strike Connections Internationally

I’m scribing this missive out of solidarity and admiration for all the comrades participating in the hunger strike in California, Georgia, Ohio and abroad. Thinking of this brings me back to a book I’ve scrutinized in my captivation recently titled Ten Men Dead by David Beresford. It’s about the Irish Republican Army’s (IRA) organized hunger strikes, pig assassinations, and overall solidarity of the politically conscious convicts confined in the infamous Long Kesh prison in Belfast. These brothaz (I say brothaz despite ethnicity because we’re all “born” from the same struggle) struggled to overcome oppression, implement justice, and overcome oppression toward for freedom. These comrades were willing to fast until death if demands were not met by the tyrants who oversaw them. They also had political support on the outside.

I see the same thing transpiring in California as you read this. I’m intrigued and am in constant awe at the consciousness that permeates from that SHU battle which pivots on the anticipation of that “moment of truth” - the immediate prospect of death. The build-up to that moment is marked by the two sides to the dispute maneuvering to heighten the psychological pressure on the other. And the groundwork for this was carefully laid for this feat of courage I read about in MIM(Prisons)’s ULK.

My plantation has no solidarity amongst us. If you try to manufacture some you’re put in long term administrative segregation (Ad-Seg) on solitary confinement for up to a year, due to safety and security being breached or a panya (rat) wanting you out the way before you get h privileges taken. I write this from Ad-Seg. Currently I’m a lone soldier in this struggle but as Terence MacSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork and commanding officer of the IRA said in a political essay, “A man who will be brave only if tromping with a legion will fail in courage if called to stand in the breach alone.”

Comrades don’t give up, fight on, our day is near. The weight of the people will soon crumble this paper tiger. You have my support. Shout out to my Gaidis confined in these gulags. Keep yo face up and chest out.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It is true that the hunger strike in California required much work to build unity and organization before the action. But those comrades in other states who complain that there is no unity should not be thinking that California is so very different and united. It is only through hard work and organizing and educating about common goals that any unity can be built. Across the country this kind of work is punished with solitary confinement by the prison administrators because they know that we are effective. It’s often hard, slow work, but it’s the only way we can build a united front and take the fight against the criminal injustice system beyond words and into actions.

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[United Front] [Political Repression] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 20]
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Peace Movement Destroyed in Infancy

Criminalizing a People
This letter is to inform you that the United Zulu Independence Movement (UZI) was destroyed and disbanded due to the draconian COINTELPRO-type efforts of the prison administration here in Missouri. For the past 6 months, which we are calling “6 Months of Terror!” the Missouri DOC have been sending the gang task force into general populations statewide to seize, harass, arrest, set up, transfer and jump on UZI members. Members are being pointed out by prison snitches and placed on gang file. They have also confiscated all of our literature, but cannot charge us with organized disobedience because, as you know, we have not promoted any.

The administration’s view of UZI is so dark due to two major words within our radical title (United & Independence). They fear the unity of the lumpen, and they see the independent thinker as a serious threat.

I will keep in contact with the United Front for Peace in Prisons to let you know of our progress to rebuild.

It Don’t Stop!
Zulu


MIM(Prisons) responds: UZI had been an active participant in pushing for a United Front for Peace in Prisons, working with MIM(Prisons) for just over a year before their demise at the hands of the state. We
hear they were doing prom- ising truce work between lumpen organizations in their region. As they allude to, they were very careful about the language used in their literature so that it could not be misconstrued to be something of a “crim- inal” nature or promoting forbidden behavior within the Missouri DOC. Despite all this, the DOC still saw it appropriate to brutally crush this peace movement, demonizing any attempt by oppressed nations to organize. We expect that more New Afrikan blood will be shed in Missouri as a direct result of this ob- struction of peace, and this blood will be on the hands of the COINTELPRO-type forces.

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[Censorship] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 23]
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The System Fails Us, but We Stay Committed

On 4 February 2011, I received a Memorandum and Order regarding the Motions of Summary Judgment on the suit that I filed on two issues of Under Lock & Key (February 2008 and September 2008) that were censored, and four pamphlets from Kansas Mutual Aid (KMA). In short, summary judgment was granted on the two ULK issues.

On the February 2008 issue, the court ruled that “the first article in the publication discusses the rate of imprisonment across the United States for different races. Other articles highlight how the prison system is otherwise unfair to African-Americans and promotes ‘modern day slavery.’” On the September 2008 issue, the court concluded that “the publication does appear to encourage prisoners to ‘fight back’ and ‘unite against the unjustice [sic] system.’” Of course, the court took these statements out of the context in which they were written and implied.

When the order was received, I was doing a 30-day hit in Administrative Segregation without any of my legal materials and didn’t have the opportunity to file a notice of appeal. At the same time, the Federal 8th Court of Appeals has consistently ruled against us on these issues and most likely would have upheld the lower court’s ruling and hit me for another $455 for filing the appeal.

Their Motion for Summary Judgment on the four KMA booklets was denied without prejudice and they were given the option to file another pending further information. They have subsequently filed said motion and, because of the way the courts have already ruled, I expect that the court will grant their motion. I really don’t expect this case will proceed further, although I am going to file a motion in opposition to their motion for summary judgment.

A tactical victory would have certainly been a good thing. On the same token, a lesson still comes out of this – that comrades must not be thinking and acting as though we are really protected by the U.$. Constitution, state and local statutes, and the myths and lies fed the settlers and colonies of the empire about Amerikkkan “democracy” and other such nonsense.

I will however continue to fight any new instances of censorship that may arise and continue to agitate, educate and organize on this and other issues.


MIM(Prisons) Legal Coordinator responds: Here the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals – which governs the states of Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, and the Dakotas – has protected a censorship incident which might otherwise be deemed illegal in another Circuit or at the Supreme Court. Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401 concluded that “Wardens may not reject a publication ‘solely because its content is religious, philosophical, political, social[,] sexual, or . . . unpopular or repugnant,’. . .” In the 9th Circuit, “Prison authorities cannot rely on general or conclusory assertions to support their policies,” Walker v. Sumner (9th Cir. 1990) 917 F.2d 382, 385, and “Unsupported security claims couldn’t justify infringement on First Amendment rights,” Crofton v. Roe (9th Cir. 1999) 170 F.3d 957. Facts in Under Lock & Key on the reality of the Amerikan prison system are no different than what one would find in any halfway decent mainstream newspaper. Any connection one might claim between these facts and a “threat to the security of the institution” is absolutely unsupported, conclusory, and based on gross generalizations.

Anyone who has read one full issue of Under Lock & Key knows that the reason given by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals for denying the February 2008 issue is taken completely out of context, like this comrade says. MIM(Prisons) is constantly putting forth the line that armed struggle under unfavorable conditions should be avoided if at all possible; any fighting back we may advocate is only within legally acceptable means, like lawsuits. More clearly explained in Under Lock & Key issue 7 (March 2009),

“MIM(Prisons) only engages in and promotes legal means of combating injustice. When the prison staff represses every educational and legal outlet for prisoners to redress their complaints then it is clear what kind of strategies they are promoting. In those prisons, we predict there will be violence, and they cannot blame it on us because they have kept us out. This is similar to what we say about all struggles for justice around the world. We believe violence is necessary to end injustice because history has demonstrated that the oppressor never stops oppressing any other way. We do not want or promote violence, we are merely stating our conclusion from reading history. In every case of revolutionary war, it was up to the oppressor to decide whether violence was used or not. History shows that the same has been true in the prison rights movement; the struggle for prisoner rights has only become violent when the state initiated such violence.”

Regarding the censorship of the September 2008 issue for calling on prisoners to unite against injustices: anyone who has read a few issues of Under Lock & Key knows that unity against the injustice system is the quickest way to reduce violence in prisons and on the streets. The article Peace in the Streets, also from ULK issue 7, shares a bit of the history of the many efforts made by lumpen organizations to join together for peace, and the efforts of the pigs to shut it down. In 2006, the Pelican Bay State Prison Peace Talks were underway in Crescent City, California; “I was able to bring all relevant parties to the table, a peace plan was adopted and a cease fire was implemented.” There, also, the pigs undermined the unity.(1)

More recently, comrades all across the country have come together to develop and sign on to the United Front for Peace in Prisons. This United Front (UF) is an effort to stop the unnecessary killings and divisions in the prison environment which lead to our destruction. Interestingly, one of the points of unity of the UF is Growth, with emphasis on education. The pigs don’t recognize this, but we know from experience and our study of history that political education leads to peace amongst the oppressed. Far from being censored, Under Lock & Key should be distributed widely to prisoners in the United $tates, because it will have a direct impact on the safety and security of the actual people in the prisons every day, including the guards.

This comrade has adopted a positive and correct attitude in the face of disappointment and censorship. Even though s/he is unable to receive these two issues of Under Lock & Key, s/he has not lost h commitment to apply science to strategy; h Plan B isn’t to lash our or give up. More of us should follow h example and put science and the study of correct strategy, not emotions, at the forefront of our political work.

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[Political Repression] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 19]
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Segregation for Observing Black August Continues

As suspected, our appeal to the corrupted grievance system was denied. It has been decided that we continue our punishment here in Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg), all because we 16 Brothers were observing Black August.

These pigs can stop a revolutionary but they will never stop a revolution, by the words of Brother Fred Hampton. Black August is a peoples’ holiday, so why should I be punished for it? It’s a proven fact that this administration used my observation to place and keep me in Ad-Seg.

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[Download and Print] [Religious Repression] [Political Repression] [Censorship] [Campaigns] [Missouri]
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Downloadable Petition Against Violations of Constitution, Missouri

Missouri Petition
Click to Download PDF of Missouri Petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with the grievance procedure or censorship of music and literature. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

Tom Clements, Director of Adult Institutions
P.O. Box 236
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Chris Pickering, Inspector General (MO DOC)
P.O. Box 236
Jefferson City, MO 65101

U.S. Department of Justice
PhB 950 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

Marianne Atwell, Director of Offender Rehabilitative Services (Missouri)
P.O. Box 236
Jerrerson City, MO 65101

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

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[Political Repression] [South Central Correctional Center] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 18]
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Punished for Observing Black August

In [uel=https://www.prisoncensorship.info/ulk/15]ULK 15 is an article on Black August, it was suggested that we eat only one meal a day throughout the month of August and fast completely August 7 in honor of Jonathan Jackson, on August 21 in honor of George Jackson, and on August 31 in honor of Hasan Shakur.

I was in AdSeg and I was doing 5 days for creating a disturbance rule 19.1. I decided to fast on August 21 and I decided to refuse my tray in honor of Black August. Well I was written up, and given a year more to do in AdSeg. The violation report read like this: “[X] refused his tray and declared a hunger strike along with 16 other offenders.” And so from my understanding we all were given a conduct violation and now we fight the IRR system we were denied. I explained that I was practicing my faith and now it’s in the hands of the corrupt grievance procedure. We were all written up for “organized disobedience.”

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[Legal] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 17]
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Campaign Update from Missouri

Censorship Campaign Update

In April 2010, we embarked upon a legal campaign to protest the Missouri DOC’s decision to place a blanket ban on all CDs and tapes which carry a parental advisory label. We suggested that prisoners send in a complaint to DOC and government officials, and other prisoners’ rights organizations.

On 29 June 2010 the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri responded to the letter I sent to them. In short order, they said they couldn’t represent “me” in the complaint set forth in Our complaint letter, although I stressed that this was an issue that affected the entire class of prisoners in this state.

On 13 July 2010, Natania Gazek, Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.$. Justice Department responded to Our complaint and letter. Her response was that the U.$. Justice Department would not get involved in “individual” cases, but does have the authority to initiate civil action in the name of the Unite $tates. against state and local officials to remedy conditions of confinement which violate the constitution.

We shouldn’t be surprised by these responses. These officials represent the interests of the state, which is imperialist in word and deed. However, what surprised me was that I wrote to over 40 organizations and groups which have memberships in these prisons including but not limited to the NAACP, NOI, Missouri CURE, Human Rights Watch, Critical Resistance, rcp=U$A, ASPS, the Fortune Society and not one of these groups had enough respect for Our struggle to even respond to Our call for help.

From this you should take that it is exceedingly important that we support groups such as MIM(Prisons) and USW who have shown in their actions that they support our struggles. We must withdraw all moral and financial support of groups and leaders who don’t give a damn about our repression, yet want our membership dollars.

Legal Work

I have current federal litigation filed that alleges that the censorship policy is a violation of Our 1st and 14th Amendment rights. This case deals specifically with DOC officials’ censorship of issues of Under Lock & Key and other MIM publications.

What will strengthen this case and the new case that I’m preparing is if those of you in Missouri who have had issues of ULK and other literature from MIM Distributors censored would write out declarations or affidavits stating when and what was censored and send them to the MIM(Prisons)-led Prisoners’ Legal Clinic, who will send them to me. I will present this evidence to the Asst. Attorney General as proof that these illegal actions are happening in other prisons and it is not just me as an “individual” who is suffering.

In all, the lesson here is that we can’t expect “justice” from our enemies and that we must organize ourselves and build independent institutions that speak to our needs. Rest assured that our enemies know full well the social implications of their policies. A persyn can only proceed as far as their knowledge will carry them and they plan to keep prisoners ignorant, addicted and coming in and out of prison as a constant source of income.

Ups to all of those who took the time, energy and efforts to send in complaints, file grievances and educate fellow prisoners on these issues and others. If you have other ideas, suggestions or strategies please send them in. Keep your heads up, stay strong, unite and organize.

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