Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Montana 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.

[Control Units] [Montana State Prison] [Montana] [ULK Issue 40]
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Montana Shuts Down SHU, Reopens Under a New Name

The Montana prison suppression machine has pulled the wool over the eyes of several prisoner advocacy groups by pretending to disband their security housing unit (SHU) program. It's not actually gone, it's just been given a shiny new title. It's now known as LH1 - AdSeg and LHII - Max population or step down program.

The SHU program started in Montana State Prison (MSP) in approximately 2004-2005, designed to hold validated gang members or violent prisoners deemed security threats. Unfortunately in Montana the only requirement for validation is to associate with suspicious prisoners or interact with known gang members. No activity is required to validate you. Anyone who disagrees with a corrections officer, files grievances, or otherwise remotely questions the capitalist authority is deemed a security risk.

MSP's favorite use of control units is for a growing number of mentally ill prisoners. MSP has no resources to house these prisoners separately so they use long term isolation, trying to induce forced sumission over them.

The LHII step down program is creating jobs for high risk prisoners who would normally never have the opportunity to earn a few dollars, but at the cost of long term isolation for most prisoners who are only here because they questioned policy, filed grievances, refused a pig's order, or are scared by prison life. This does not make for a prisoner who will fare well once turned back to population or society.

So MSP has once again fixed nothing, but it might have fooled a few people with the name change. We must expose the new system for what it is: a renaming of the same long term isolation.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We need prisoners to help us keep our statistics on control units across the country up to date. We estimate over 100,000 long term isolation units exist in the United $tates, but this data is incomplete for many states. If you know about a control unit in your state, write to us for a control unit survey so that you can help us collect this data on torture in Amerikan prisons.

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[Download and Print] [Campaigns] [Abuse] [Montana]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, Montana

Montana Grievance Petition
Click to download a PDF
of the Montana grievance petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with the grievance procedure. 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 of support on behalf of prisoners.

ACLU of Montana
PO Box 1317
Helena MT 59624

U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, PHB
Washington DC 20530

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
PO Box 9778
Arlington, VA 22219

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

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


*PDF updated October 2017*
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[Organizing] [Montana] [ULK Issue 15]
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Boycotting work is unrealistic

In the May/June 2010 issue of ULK a Pennsylvania prisoner stated that he thinks everyone should stop working so the prison systems would look at our complaints. While I think my comrade has a great idea, I must conclude that it is a very unrealistic one. There simply aren't enough people willing to stand up for this cause. S/he was right in saying people care more about television than their rights. I ask MIM(Prisons) and my fellow brethren to give me, as well as everyone, some ideas on how we can make other prisoners come together to make our Pennsylvania brother's dream come true.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We did briefly address this point in the article "Our unity vs. their crisis" in the same issue of ULK. What many people are recognizing here is that we need to proceed in steps, and we must continually assess our conditions to see how fast we can move. Also, keep in mind that development is not equal across the board. So, while our Montana comrade is correct in general, this might not be true everywhere (see "Back to the basics"). But where it is not true the key is to start with things that can be done with smaller groups, such as lawsuits and study groups, or actions that require less commitment like petitions or fund drives. All of these things can help develop unity. We welcome ideas from others, but specifically ideas that you have tried and worked. Or if they didn't work tell us why. Ideas without testing in practice are a dime a dozen.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Montana]
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Animal

We're told when we can eat,
We're told when we can sleep,
We're treated like animals,
We're treated like the sheep.

No one really cares,
As long as it's not them,
Prisons treat us like animals,
Instead of grown-up men.

They open our doors to chow,
We race for it like cattle,
They may have won this round,
But they haven't won the battle.

We all must stay strong,
Surrender is not a choice,
We will rise up,
We will use our voice!

So let's be animals,
But not the one's they think,
Roar like lions,
Let them know their policies stink.

Don't give up,
Don't be blue,
Cause' even though we prisoners,
We're humans too.

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[Organizing] [Montana] [ULK Issue 7]
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Call for unity among Montana prisoners

I'm writing in support of the Montana prisoner article detailing corrupt medical services and canteen schemes for profit. I've been a prisoner here in the Montana prison system since 2001. Over the years I've seen many changes, most for the worst. The biggest and the one that truly makes me sick, is the total collapse of prisoner unity in our prison system.

There's a scary trend of new prisoners entering here. It's all about submissive cooperation with prison officials. Making deals with the man (snitching, confidential informants) to secure favors from prison administrators (extra privileges, early release). Also a bad case of "Good ol Day" or "Back in the Day" syndrome. Unfortunately most people just talk, bitch or complain. Old timers are not standing up to teach the youngster how to carry himself within the walls.

I agree the medical services/canteen corruption in this system is out of control, but we have no one to blame but ourselves because we allowed the prison to take ultimate control. So now brother, I call unto those with heart to stand up and take back what's ours.

This is not a call of ignorance or senseless violence, but of sound, wise, educated resistance that benefits everyone here. In other words, prisoner unity, not division.

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[Medical Care] [Montana] [ULK Issue 5]
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Montana medical neglect threatens lives

I'm writing to let you know what this prison here in Montana is up to concerning my many fallen brothers. For instance, a close brother of mine is having this huge run around with the so-called medical department. He's got all sorts of heart problems and takes multiple medications for his conditions. They took his meds away once and he was made to file all sorts of paperwork on them to get them back. Tell me that wasn't some kind of life threatening game played by the prison officials.

I have another brother who has serious knee problems. It took forever fighting with them and listening to them say "There's nothing wrong with you, it's all in your head," before they agreed to bring in a rehab specialists. This specialists told my brother that his left knee was permanently screwed, which he already knew, but anyhow, he told my brother that he'd recommend a brace for knee support and that he'd be back in a couple of weeks to start working with him. The prison put a kebash on those plans because this was done a month and a half ago and still no brace or a second visit from the specialist.

The way I see it is the prison officials, medical and semi-high ranking staff will do anything to put an extra taxpayers buck in their pocket.

There's also another issue that just makes me split a gut. This place does a lot of racketeering. Take for instance the fact that they took our 13" TVs away and started selling 7" TVs. The 7 inchers were only $100 for a while, then out of the blue they switched vendors and the 7 inchers went up to $200 a piece. Seems to me that somebody's making a killer profit.

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[Abuse] [Gender] [Montana] [ULK Issue 6]
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Psycho-Sexual Warfare Article Speaks to Others

I have been receiving your newsletter for a couple of years now and have thought to write on many occasions. But reading the article "Psycho-Sexual Warfare vs Political Prisoners" by a New York Prisoner has finally compelled me to do so. My own personal experiences within Montana's prison system share some common ground and I thought I would take the time to offer a comparison.

Unlike most of your contributors, I am not only a political prisoner within the prison system itself, I am a political prisoner for opposing the corrupt authorities on the outside, as well. I did not commit a crime to be arrested, I sued the City of Kalispell, Montana, and was charged with a false crime and arrested, followed by a kangaroo court trial and conviction, to stop my suit against those authorities.

Upon entering the prison system I committed myself to fighting the system from the inside. I have used my legal knowledge to file hundreds of legal documents for other prisoners (in spite of unlawful rules and regulations prohibiting prisoners from assisting each other with legal matters) and filed several claims in the courts on my own, including an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) suit and a class action suit for numerous civil liberty violations.

As a vocally outspoken opponent of the prison industrial complex as a whole, and the Montana State prison system specifically, I have made myself quite the target for retaliations from the prison administration. Though I have not had the sexual element foisted upon me as my New York counterpart reports, I have had the rest done to me. I am a low custody prisoners presently confined in a high security lock-down facility, for instance. This has been done in spite of the authorities' foreknowledge that I am claustrophobic, in spite of the fact that I am housed with predatorily violent prisoners, many of whom are staff bulldogs (prisoners who work for the cops, basically acting as strong-arms against anyone in disfavor with those same cops). I have been not only placed in "ambiguous and pressure-filled situation(s)" but I have been beaten by an inmate who did so I believe at staff instruction.

I have had privileges stripped from me, and even property stolen from me, by staff members whose only intent is to harass and provoke me. Yes, I have been on the receiving end of efforts designed to "dehumanize" me and to make me "subservient." And I have only been subjected to all of this extra hardship because I will not break and I continue to fight the system. The New York prisoner is absolutely right in this regard - prison officials isolate those with the greatest potential and subject them to abuses designed to strip us of our focus and will.

I wanted him and everyone else suffering similar hardship to know that you are not alone. Others fight the war with you. Each time prison officials fail to break you, it's a victory. Remember that and stand strong.

I wish my brothers and sisters in solidarity strength and goodwill.

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