Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Potosi Correctional Center - Missouri

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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.

[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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[Campaigns] [Potosi Correctional Center] [Missouri]
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You Say We're Not, But We Are

06/21/2010

In this response to the Missouri petition, the Deputy Warden of Potosi Correctional Center (PCC) "argues" that staff at PCC do not violate the First Amendment rights of prisoners held there. When it's a pig's word against a prisoner's, the trend in Amerikan society is to trust their own.

While this administrator likely considers this case to be closed, we instead view his correspondence as another example that there are no rights, only power struggles. To build public opinion in favor of national liberation struggles, we draw out, collect, and expose these flaws in the "justice" system. We also try to push people to change their minds against reformism as an ultimate goal, and to respond to these examples with actions to build a new society. Put in work!

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [Potosi Correctional Center] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 14]
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CO undermines hunger strike, causes death

On March 6, James McKinney died at Potosi Correctional Center. In the Washington County paper it said natural causes (heart attack). Now for the real story. James McKinney was in solitary confinement with me. So I'm giving you a first person account of the events that I believe led to this man's death. In early or mid-February McKinney was assigned to cell 2C-20 for a minor infraction. His first couple of days there he ran afoul of COI Shannon Clubbs (as many prisoners do). COI Clubbs harassed and verbally abused McKinney daily. In protest of this ill treatment James McKinney declared a hunger strike. He also sent a letter of protest to Senator Robin Wright-Jones.

When you have missed a certain amount of meals, you are automatically referred to medical personnel for a physical. Two times when he was approaching this certain amount of missed meals COI Clubbs opened McKinney's food port and threw a noon-time meal in his cell. He then logged as if McKinney accepted a meal, effectively rescinding the food strike. The second time Clubbs did this McKinney screamed on the walk that Clubbs was setting him up, Clubbs was laughing and taunting him the whole time. To add insult to injury, he also gave McKinney a conduct violation for accepting a food tray and then not returning it when the meal was over. This is a common and favorite tactic of confinement COIs. We (all the prisoners) did kick and holler for assistance from other COIs to no avail, so when McKinney finally saw medical, he was in worse shape than they thought, because he had missed triple the meals as the files indicated because of Clubbs manipulating the files, but no one would listen to him or us. He wrote a letter to Senator Robin Wright-Jones explaining the harassment by PCC staff in general and COI Clubbs in particular. I'm not sure how long it was, but it was well past 2 weeks, maybe 3 before he was convinced to eat, the first couple of days in March early in the morning he was complaining about chest and he went to medical as a self-declared patient - 3 or 4 days later he was dead.

I'm not a doctor and I don't know anything about his health or lack of health, but he wasn't overweight, looked to be in good shape, a quiet respectful brother. I asked him a couple of times if he was cool and he said he had things under control. I tried to rally everyone to form a peaceful protest, but these passive-assed conformed-as-slaves won't put up any type of resistance. My focus is COI Clubbs. Me and a couple of comrades wrote letters to Senator Robin Wright-Jones, State Rep Linda Fischer, Lisa Jones of constituent services. I have several copies of complaints on COI Clubbs in the last 6 or 7 months, about his abuse, harassment.

I just don't know what to do next. I am not afraid of them so educate me and tool me up and I'll stay on their asses here. Several convicts have won suits against them over the years. They pay but never change their repressive policies.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We print this article to continue our discussion about which strategies and tactics are available and useful to us in our struggles to end oppression worldwide. We need to analyze our options with a realistic and material perspective, and with that we need to measure their limitations. One lesson we can learn from this prisoner's tragic death is that hunger strikes by individuals are vulnerable to manipulation by COs and administration. As we explained to another comrade in ULK 13, a protest needs to be well-planned and considered from all angles. The more we can learn about the limitations of our tactics, the better equipped we will be to use them effectively.

Another error we would point out is the assertion that COI Clubbs is a problem separate from the repression of the imperialist system. We think it is important to bring attention to this abuse, and to name names for accountability's sake. But focusing all energy on getting COI Clubbs fired doesn't impact imperialism in general. In fact, it does the opposite by reinforcing the idea that the system is good; that the problem is just a few "bad apples" who can be dealt with on an individual level. In our agitational work, it is important to be clear about what the true problem is and the correct strategy to address that problem.

The fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of prison staff with similar accusations against them demonstrate that firing one guard does not usually improve the conditions of prisoners at a particular facility. In other words, getting Clubbs fired doesn't ensure that the next guy that goes on hunger strike won't face the same fate. However, developing strategy among prisoners who are facing these conditions and building outside support will help avoid such tragedies and make comrades' lives last longer and be more effective in their resistance.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Potosi Correctional Center] [Missouri]
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My environment! Real as it gets!

I am currently in the Missouri Department of Corrections at Potosi Correctional Center. I am being housed at a prison which my state defines as a level 5 institution. Which is the most secure of our classification system. Our state has five of these institutions for people with anywhere from 8 years to life without parole and this particular prison of oppression also houses the state's Death Row prisoners. Outrageous if I may say, because i found myself here for one reason alone, accumulation of minor write ups.

Housed with murderers, rapists and well humans I should say who have messed up and got way too much time. Why? Because this state and many other states would just assume to warehouse us for many years than try to help us. My environment is as real as it gets and here's why.

There are six housing units on this prison yard and they break down like this: one house - supermax (where I am at right now we'll touch on that later) holds 22 people and two suicide cells (no cameras in these cells) we have showers in our cells in one house and the temperature stays so cold it's quite unreal, which I believe is to punish the ones who are at times in the suicide cells, which they also use for punishment/strip out/dry cells.

Then there comes two house, the worst house on the yard! This house is also the hole or segregated/oppression house. It has 3 wings A-wing consist of 30-double bunk cells, a total of 60 people. B-wing 32 single man cells and C-wing 30 single man cells. This house is out of control when it comes to custody officers. What is known to any and every prisoner is if you're in two house you must stay on your toes, especially during the 7:30am to 3:30pm shift when the 5 "C's" work Culton, Clubbs, Conrad, Comer, and Copeland. These oppressors are treacherous because they will deny you food, exploit your mail, ruin you property, free-case you, retaliate on you with frivolous write ups, and these five rogue oppressors have backing all the way to the sergeants, lieutenants, captains, majors, deputy wardens, and the top oppressor, the warden.

The things they do come natural to them: deny, abuse, exploit, deter. But all this doesn't stop on their shift, it goes on 24/7, especially on weekends. What we refer to as the good ol' boys, because we're in a little prison in a little town, where damn near everyone knows everyone and they're all related and friends.

I just watched a comrade refuse to be put in a hazardous environment man-handled by these people all except Copeland, who was the Bubble/Control Unit officer, maced this guy, pulled him out of his cell, and as soon as they were in a blind spot where no camera could see, he was slammed on his face/neck and shoulder. He is two doors down now in a cell that floods during showers.

But wait, there is more. Let's examine why I am in a supermax cell. On September 11, 2009 I was given a medical lay in to receive a brown bag with my trays. Everything was going like it should, then comes Sunday evening dinner tray pass. I didn't get my brown bag, was told they would order it, they gave me an excuse as I would get it later. I believed them, later came and went. This started at 4pm, it turned into 10:30pm. Still nothing so I covered my window in an attempt to see/get a Sargent, a custody count came by, they didn't even see me. The sign in my window said I wanted a Brown Bag. I was told by one officer "your beat" the other said "wan-wan". So I did get quite angry and decided to make the sprinkler head come alive and flood my cell and the walk. Yes, I know, stupid but can't change it now. Well, anyways my cell started to flood and here com the oppressors. 4 or 5 blue shirts (foot soldiers) and the sargeants two or three of them. Now I'm not exactly calm so maybe I warranted 2 or 3 but 8 or 9, c'mon folks!

So I remained in the cell for about 20 minutes with oily/nasty water pouring by the gallons until I was given the directive to "cuff up"! I complied only to have the handcuffs slammed on my wrist. My door was opened and I was jerked out, put in a restraint hold with my arms lifted above my shoulder and practically drug out of the wing into the rotunda, I was doing everything I could to walk, well needless to say, on the way out of the wing I was slammed into a door frame causing a pretty nice cut across my right collar bone and a swollen eye/cheek, but they aren't done with me yet. So far this was witnessed by quite a few. As I am being escorted out of the housing unit to medical I assume as soon as we are in another one of the blind spots I was slammed on the concrete causing quite a few inflictions. Left shoulder all scraped/cut up, left knee split open. Right side below my armpit a few scrapes. Right eye/cheek bone nice and swollen and cut open. Does this seem unreal? Believe me it's not.

After they did the usual stop resisting shenanagins twisting my shoulders and wrist to points of probably near breakage I was lifted up and forced to walk bent over at a rapid pace into medical. I was sat into a chair while a nurse used some type of water and gauze to treat/first aid the multiple bleeding wounds. All the while I was having my wrist twisted when I made the comment. I'm not trying to resist I was told to shut up and twisted harder, again lifted up and walked say 500 feet to one house, put into the suicide cell, even though I'm not suicidal, completely naked. Searched forced onto a concrete slab onto my busted knee, almost over. Door shut unshackled and handcuffed. Phew I still have cuts and scars still healing due to improper medical care and the Good Ol Boys. I'm telling you as real as it gets this is not unusual, quite typical. People getting slammed, spit upon, mace bombs thrown in on us, riot cans of mace used, forced to subsist in freezing temperatures stark naked, it don't stop, and when we try to organize and let our oppression be known about we are placed on limited property where we don't have access to paper, pen or envelopes or stamps. This is outrageous. I ask myself why all this because we want our civil rights and we want our state issue (things we are entitled to) food, clothing, bedding, legal.

One more instance and I'll be through for now. We have a chapel library assistant who was said to have been doing it for 3 years. Well just recently he was in the fabled two house and accused of bringing in contraband. No way, no how would he have if you knew this guy. Now we in two house have no chapel access.

Now back to the housing unit breakdown. Three house A-wing: 46 cells all double man cells, general population. B-wing: 23 double man cells, general population, the other 23 the hole. That's 3 holes total! Crazy huh, and they all stay full, then we got 4 house with two wings 46 cells apiece, single-man A-wing sensitive needs unit, B-wing protective custody unit, 6-house with two wings general population, 92 double man cells total. 5-house - the honor house full privileges, no 22 hour lockdown. The ones who make no noise of the oppression are the ones who get to stay there and the ones who lay back and don't do much of anything good or bad.

We are trying to get the ACLU involved in our struggle within. Grievances are met with excuses as to why we're in the wrong. Seldom are they remedied inside the institution, and occasionally when they get to central office and when they are this prison doesn't follow up. It's chaos, it's surreal, it's downright bullshit!

Thanks to Under Lock and Key I know this is happening abroad and all around the U$. We must stand united. We will win!

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