Prisoners Report on Conditions in

North Carolina 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] [Alexander Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 66]
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Writing Campaign Works

I have been fighting for better conditions in my current prison since I got here in June 2017. Tell the prison masses they have to write en masse to their unit managers, warden and director of prisons in their state. It's free!! There is no excuse.

The easiest thing to do, which I did, is to write up your declarations and remonstrations using carbon copy paper. Make 2-3 copies for each block/pod in every unit. Pass them out to comrades in those blocks, so they can encourage/force/persuade the masses to take 15 minutes to recopy and post it out. Done.

The first time I initiated these shots the warden called me to his office for a meeting with him, the unit manager, and assistant warden. He stopped the early counts, the 9 p.m. count, and turning off of phones. This sh!t works. On the second salvo he initiated recreation seven days a week. We are still pounding.


MIM(Prisons) responds: More reasonable hours for count, more contact with the outside world, and more recreation are all related to our anti-imperialist struggle, even though they may seem like petty reforms. Better sleep makes us mentally sharper, for writing, self-control, and creativity. Interaction with the outside world can give us motivation and positive social contact. And exercise (especially outdoors) helps with our physical as well as mental health.

We'd love to analyze a little deeper the benefits of running a campaign like the one described, because it's not just good for changing conditions. The people who are copying the letters and seeing results are at a special place in their recruiting. They might not be ready to initiate a campaign like this, and they might not even identify as part of "the struggle." But they have some interest in this work and are putting in some (albeit relatively small) effort.

At this stage, the best thing we can do for them is help set up "easy wins." They probably aren't dedicated enough to remain committed after a big setback. So asking them to put in a ton of effort for no reward is just not realistically going to inspire them to stay engaged. Whenever we can devise campaigns or activities that give this positive feedback to the people participating, with minimal effort, we should jump on those projects. These folks might not have learned the relationship between working hard and reward, so we can help teach that association. "Without directly experiencing the connection between effort and reward, animals, whether they're rats or people, default to laziness."(1)

Also keep in mind that all is not lost on the folks who are not participating, and are watching the campaign from the sidelines. Like we wrote in our response to "Sack the Sack Lunches," this type of campaign can help spark people's interest, just by witnessing and experiencing the results. Let's not condemn these folks for not participating, and instead let's try harder to inspire them with our successes, and then help them with easy wins when they are ready to participate.

In some states like Texas, where even indigent mail is restricted to 5 letters per month, it's not free to write to these administrators to change conditions. There are plenty of excuses (or reasons) why people can't engage in this type of campaign. Still, whenever possible, we agree that we should be pushing campaigns like these. It just means we have to get more creative in developing them.

Note:
1. Angela Duckworth, Grit, Scribner: 2016, Ch. 11 "The Playing Fields of Grit."
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[Prison Labor] [Pender Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 66]
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Standing Up Against Work Extortion in NC

Myself and two other prisoners currently being held at Pender Correctional in North Carolina have founded a band of like-minded brothers that are fed up with the way the state and prison systems have found a way to excuse slavery. They are preying on people's downfalls, and use them for their own gain. In North Carolina there is a lot of overcrowding and the only way to get on good time is to work, which saves them money, not having to pay prisoners minimum wage. This work also makes income for the prison at their enterprise plants, where prisoners work for 40-55 hours a week for $10.50-$21.30 in pay (for the week). They have the workers making officers' uniforms, chemicals, working farms, making eye wear, and a laundry service that not only cleans prison clothes but also hospital and rest home clothes.

If you are one of the lucky ones that gets to go to a minimum camp and go out on work release to work an outside job, they charge you $150 a week for room and board. Hold on, that's double dipping. They get paid by the federal government to house us. Then they write us up for every petty thing they can, such as too many clothes, disrespect, profanity, etc. and take $10 from us each time. They also invented a way to charge us every time we receive money from our family.

We decided that we won't go for it anymore, but we are limited to what we can do while we're in here, for fear of retaliation. We're already suffering because we refuse to work. We are building steam every day by spreading the word. We need help from someone that knows the best ways to organize and lead. So can you please help us with advice and resource list and materials to pass out? Also we could really use law books to help further some various lawsuits we have filed and need to file. Please help in any way you can. We are a band of your fellow brothers seeking guidance. Thank you for your time!


MIM(Prisons) responds: These comrades organizing against the extortion of their labor are setting an example for others. Getting like-minded people together and coming up with a unified plan of action is an accomplishment in and of itself. We will send some materials, grievance petitions and other resources that may be useful. But we also call on other prisoners to respond with any advice you have for these organizers. What can we do to have the best chances of success? Are there problems these comrades should look out for? This is the dialectical process that revolutionaries use, summing up our practice to learn from successes and failures. And sharing that learning with others makes an even bigger impact. Turn your own organizing failures into successes by learning from them and helping others to avoid the same mistakes.

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[Abuse] [Tabor Correctional Institution] [North Carolina]
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Fighting False Charges for Staff Negligence

I am waiting to see the D.H.O. for an 'A' charge. I could go to the hole for several weeks, so I'm writing to you now. The following may be published.

On November 4, Ms Jackson, a unit manager, refused to allow this political prisoner to go to work. The record does not clearly reveal whether her violation was racially motivated or relation for the victim's First Amendment activities. It subjected him to possibly being fired or written up for a Rule 25 violation, so he filed a grievance. A step One response was due but not received on November 24.

On November 8, the guards again abandoned their post at the pod sally port so I was unable to go to work. I waited a quarter hour in the designated location. Frederick Shaw, of the same race as Jackson but not me, showed up for "work" a couple of hours late. Instead of giving me a pass per policy, he wrote me up!

Gwenda McDuffile was assigned to "investigate." She gave me a statement form and stared into space and played with a computer mouse while I tried to defend myself against unknown allegations. I later was formally charged with three "offenses."

I was given two charges because of lies in Shaw's statement: a B3 for interfering with a locking device (the block slider?) and a B2.5 for being in an "unauthorized" area (the cell block instead of my assigned job location). The D.H.O. properly dismissed them but continued a more serious 'A' charge for investigation.

Frustrated by my refusal to plead guilty, McDuffie had written me up for writing a statement. Having some knowledge of constitutional law and State policy, I had briefly stated what I knew about McDuffie's "investigation" (she stared into space and played with a computer mouse) while not expressly contradicting my statement. McDuffie concluded, without citing any statute, rule or precedent, that my allegations could expose McDuffie to criminal liability.

I saw the D.H.O. again. The D.H.O. explained that a defense statement about a non-resident employee even if true and made in good faith is punishable per policy by a $10 fine, 30 days in the hole, 60 days sentence credits, 50 hours "extra duty" (slave labor), loss of three "privileges" for 90 days, and $10 trust fund withdrawal limit for 90 days. I know I also face added custody points and probable "demotion" back to close custody.

Officer Grainger was assigned to investigate McDuffie's write up. McDuffie's prior investigation having been unauthorized and otherwise in violation of state law. Although artfully worded, his report tended to corroborate my reports and proved that McDuffie's allegation was a lie. It further showed that I had been denied due process of law by collaborative efforts of McDuffie and Sgt. Gerald. The D.H.O. continued the case again, indicating that he would be discussing Gerald's illegal interference with an assistant warden before leaving the building. Such ex parte communications are unprofessional if not illegal, but common in North Carolina.

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[Abuse] [NC Correctional Institution for Women] [North Carolina]
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Women's Prison in NC denied AC, food

I would like to continue receiving these subscriptions. I am in a North Carolina prison that is probably more different than any others across the U.S. I say this because women are so different than men. We let everyone treat us any way.

We are the only prison (I think) that doesn't have air conditioning for 1600 inmates. Some dorms didn't have working water fountains this summer and if the officer didn't make someone get ice coolers at a certain time we have nothing cold to drink. The officers response, "it isn't me I have my water in a ref."

I noticed this summer after 7:30 PM or 8 PM they started seeing what the temperature was. The food we get is less than a child would eat. And big cockroaches as big as my pinky, well fatter but that long. If you don't have money you starve. They throw away food but don't give seconds. There is almost 16 hours between supper and breakfast.

And the officers lie on you. All the staff does what they want. They will lock you in Seg for someone telling them you have drugs or anything and it don't have to be true. Just because you pissed someone off. I went to seg for them telling me a white powder substance tested positive for crack or crack-based. I know for a fact that it was a norotton pill and do you think I could fight it? No! Cause the inmate always lies and the staff is never wrong. The medical here is a joke. They just cut you off your medication for no reason. Even when the outside doctors say not to. We are so overcrowded but I'm pulling the same amount of time for habitual felon as people who has killed.

Oh! If you don't brown-nose with the police then you're just going to have to take what they dish. Oh! But let them hear about an inspection everything changes. This is the worst run prison, every shift something changes. And why can't we smoke? Damn, it's not illegal. But I guess I am venting because this place beats all I've ever seen. Thanks for listening.

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[Abuse] [Polk Correctional Institution] [North Carolina]
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Guards cause prisoner death and abuse in NC

Around June a Mexican prisoner jammed his door and got out his call and stabbed an officer back here on high security maximum control when the officers came to feed him. The prisoner ran to the end of the hallway with a shank in his hand and he grabbed a nearby broom stick. The prisoner ut his back against the wall. The officers came to enforce order and beat the Mexican prisoner unconscious. The officers to retaliate kept beating the prisoner saying stop resisting after the inmate was already unconscious.

You can look it up on the news report of June in North Carolina prison of Polk Correctional Institution. Not long after that an inmate back here on high security maximum control started a fire because the prison staff denied him and other prisoners their food. The other prisoners joined in on the fire. The officer took the other prisoners out their rooms but the person that started the fire was left inside his cell. The officer told the prisoner in his cell that he was going to get him out after he passed out. The prisoner suffocated with the smoke and died.

The prisoners who were his neighbors were questioned by the SBI to know the situation. The officer was supposed to be put in investigation but came to work the following day like nothing happened. A prisoner died because the prison staff didn't get him out until he passed out suffocating by the smoke. When it's the prison staff duty to serve and protect the lives of the prisoners housed in these prison facilities. How many more lives and families have to suffer because of the corruption of the government system?

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[Abuse] [North Carolina]
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Gang affiliation guilty by association

I am writing with concerns pertaining to the (SRG) gang issue that's been hindering so many individuals in the North Carolina prison institutions. Guilty by association has been at the forefront of bestowing gang affiliation. I feel a person should only be labeled if caught in the act of any malicious behavior with a gang member.

One thing that stands out from this whole ordeal the most is how the gang intelligence officers use confidential information to gain a guilty verdict against you with the hearing examiner.

How are you supposed to face your accuser when you don't know anything about the source from which it came? It's a violation of your constitutional rights no matter what type of label is placed upon you. I feel the situation should be taken seriously due to the fact that, as a human being, it puts restrictions on one's life, as well as scrutiny in the public eye.

I am currently going through these circumstances and it is very frustrating knowing that you have to be accountable for someone else's actions even when the evidence speaks for itself. I fully overstand that being black in amerikkka is an everyday struggle, especially when it comes to judging an entire race. My mindset is to overcome these obstacles and maintain a sense of focus on being successful.

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[Religious Repression] [Civil Liberties] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 63]
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Judge to North Carolina Prisons: Humanism is a Faith Group

As of March 2018, the North Carolina prison system must recognize humanism as a faith group, allowing its adherents locked within the imperialistic belly of the beast the opportunity to meet and study their beliefs, a federal judge has ruled. The American Humanism Association, and a prisoner with a life sentence, sued state Department of Public Safety officials in 2015. Prison leaders were accused of violating the religious establishment and equal protection clauses of the Constitution by repeatedly denying recognition. U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle (Eastern District NC) wrote that prison officials failed to justify treating humanism differently from those religions already recognized within the walls of oppression. Humanist prisoners have the same Constitutional rights to study and discuss their values as a group — non-theistic.

Since Judge Boyle's ruling, some individuals have reported to Convicts of Righteous, Reform and Liberation (CORRAL), that they are faced with harassment — cell property searches up to eight times a day, water being turned off, mail delayed, and structure issues. One of our board members spoke with the "admpigs", providing a copy of this ruling. And we have been able to establish some middle ground.

CORRAL is a united group that non-violently addresses issues affecting those incarcerated. MIM has been instrumental in our quest, and we are proud to be in association. We developed our study group and board. We have three chapters. "Imperialism must be defeated", so we do our part. Our motto: "Conscience stimulation, comes from education — which propagates liberation!"

MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a progressive victory for prisoners in North Carolina. One of the strategic areas our movement focuses on is defending the Constitutional rights of affiliation and association of prisoners of the United $tates. This is particularly good news in the context of protecting the rights of humanists to come together and discuss their values and beliefs. The first line of the Wikipedia page on humanism reads, "Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism and empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition." While there are many forms of humanism and many insightful critiques of it, in general it is a belief in progressive change at the hands of humyns.

Source: Gaston Gazette
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[Control Units] [Marion Correctional Institution] [Pasquotank Correctional Institution] [North Carolina]
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Unlock the Box - Marion Correctional Intitution

The Rehabilitative Diversion Unit(RDU) keeps us on solitary confinement for 24 hours on Monday and Wednesday. The rest of the week we have a chance to go to the rec cages for an hour. If the weather is bad on those days they have an empty cell inside of your block for inside rec. There is no congregate dining, no programs, no religious services, you can't get a job or work for merit days, and no schooling. If you refuse to do the program, you stay on lock up indefinitely, limited to only 3 gain days every month you go without a write up. The whole time we're classified as being in general population in the RDU program.

The majority of the prison is a control unit, one unit is regular close population. RDU is 4 units of about 190 prisoners each, for a total of about 760. In my block there are 31 cells with 1 white, 2 Latinos, 2 Indians, and the rest are Black. Other prisoners in other blocks say their blocks are similar.

This program is supposed to replace I-CON (6 months on restrictive housing). They say they only want violent offenders, but bring people here for getting caught with knives, cell phones and for regular fights. One prisoner I ran across was here for accidentally hitting an officer with a rubberband.

This same program is starting at Pasquotank Correctional Institution.

People are missing their minimum release dates because the program is locking them down for extra time to where they can't work their time back down. They chain us to tables to watch videos and some prisoners get out of their restraints and stab other prisoners while they're chained to the table. This happened recently where a prisoner stabbed another in the eyes and face while chained to the table. They take most of our property and make us either ship it home or throw it away. No contact visits.

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[Civil Liberties] [Abuse] [North Carolina]
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Change of Venue, Technicalities Frustrate Attempts to have Grievances Heard in NC

I still have problems using the grievance procedure. I just had a petition dismissed in State Court. It was legal claims about placing me under structure sentencing laws when I was sentenced under 1979 laws. One judge ruled my claim was not frivolous and allowed me to sue as an indigent. The Attorney General's office had my case moved to another county before a judge that favored them. He made no ruling on the merits. He went outside the complaint and said I was lawfully confined. I can't appeal to state appellate courts because their court rules are mandatory that all documents be typed. Prison officials took out all law libraries in 1989, including type-writers and photocopying access.

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[Abuse] [Mental Health] [North Carolina]
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Long term seg causing mental health problems

I have been in long term seg several years now and have spent a fraction of that time attempting suicide and cutting myself at a severe level. At first I would cut arteries,then progressed to cutting through my abdominal wall and pulling out small-large intestines, literally. My purpose in sharing this with you is that long-term seg causes you to look at everyting differently, mostly in a negative way, causing you to suffer severe mental health issues. There are many here like myself. I'm housed in our prison's new hospital - mental health unit. The entire prison is experiencing extreme shortages in all staff. COs, nurses, doctors, mental health staff, are to resignations, being fired etc.

A lot has been going on here in the last 2 years. Last year the CO of the hospital and staff were terminated after an investiation where over a million dollars of narcotics had "mysteriously" turned up missing at the loading deck over a long period of time. Doctors are fired for overcharging the state millions of dollars. There are COs that are high ranked gang members.

I've personally gotten 4 [unclear] fired and 1 doctor. I have 2 current investigations involving medical staff. I'm in regular contact with NC medical board - board of nursing, disability rights of NC. Oh man, these people love me here. I experience a lot of retaliation, beatings, missing mail, etc.

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