Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Polk Correctional Institution - North Carolina

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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.

[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] [Polk Youth Institution] [North Carolina]
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HCON Abuses Fall on Deaf Ears, NC Prisoners Demand Grievances Addressed

[The following is text from a grievance submitted 18 September 2013 to the North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services that was accepted and then rejected without explanation. NCPLS is under contract with the NC Department of Public Safety to meet the legal requirement of access to legal resources for prisoners. As a result NC prisoners are not provided with law libraries. Meanwhile NCPLS repeatedly denies help to our comrades who have been writing them for years about the abuses like those described below. Combined with the obstructionism of the department staff handling grievances, North Carolina prisoners have become frustrated with the injustice and responded with hunger strikes and a campaign to demand that grievances are addressed in the state prison system. We have edited the text from the original grievance for clarity. - MIM(Prisons)]

Dear Prisoner Legal Services,

I have been housed in High Security Maximum Control(HCON) North Carolina State Prison. HCON is long-term isolation with single cells including blocks A,B,C and D, housing 96 prisoners total.

I been here over over 9 months in 23/24 hours locked down and face years here. What follows is a brief summary of the problems prisoners (WE) have here. Us prisoners always try to address our problems with the officers. They ignore inmates on our daily needs when we have a concern to be addressed for whatever matter.

We have to beat on our cell doors and windows to get officers attention because the call button of all cells was removed from the rooms. Then some officers most of the time take up to 45 or so minutes to appear in our window. An extremely loud noise beating on cells windows for a day long and night on the daily basis does disturb the peace of other prisoners as well as staff members also.

The high official Mr. Muns, Polk Correctional Institution Superintendent, and Mr. Ryan Irvin Assistant Superintendent of HCON fail to address officers behavior to have them do what their job requires them to do.

Prisoners throw human waste (shit mixed with piss) at staff members or prisoners set cells on fire to get things done by staff, which results in the prisoner being indicted on street charges.

It's not right all this happens on the daily basis and the matters are still not handled. All that happening in special house building is out of order. It makes an unsafe housing situation for prisoners and state staff.

The prisoners' behavior causes lack of medical attention we're suffering in special housing. Medical staff denied us medical emergency when declared most of the times. For example, nurse Mr. Berry, on September 15, 2013 denied me medical emergency I declared for high blood pressure and chest pain.

When we do get a nurse to respond to a medical emergency they are all being performed inside the prisoners' cells, which is also incorrect because cells are unhygienic and contaminated. It's unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, prisoners who submitted sick calls forms are facing months delays to be screened or be seen by doctor Lightsey Joseph. It take up 2 or 3 months without any concerns been fixed still. Most of the time prisoners sick calls are addressed outside the prisoner patient presence by doctor Lightsey Joseph. Mr. Mitchell Lawson nurse supervisor fails to properly train nurses personnel and he is liable.

On occasions staff members abuse their authority in many ways by messing up prisoners' meals or playing our emotional sense. Our food trays serve poor amounts of food. We starve. Mr. Carl Miller food service manager is in charge.

All prisoners clothes we use are damaged clothing. So bad they cause itching, are uncomfortable and unhygienic clothes and we are being force to use them.

For special house prisoners all outgoing or incoming mail are being obstructed by Ms. Jacqueline Maxey S.T.G. Sergeant, including reading all family or friends mail. Prisoners sometimes can't reach the North Carolina Department of Public Safety main office in the outside world to put our concerns in head official hands. So they're dirty ways can always be hidden, to save their hides. We can't reach our loved one.

Special housing staff intentionally misdeliver prisoner mail to different prisoners for that very purpose to cause harm to the prisoner himself or family members or friends. Or prisoner grieve whatever matter is... our grievances are not addressed or give a joke answer at step one. Grievances soon get dismissal always. Mr. Orlando Brown is also liable for prisoners' mail clothes issues.

Prison official also punish inmates in the prison by feeding us Nutraloaf for a 7 day period. Nutraloaf is a mix of beans, oatmeal, grits, collard greens etc... Which is cruel punishment along with taking all inmate property mattress, clothes, blanket, sheets. Except the clothing we wear for up to a 7 day period.

Us prisoners should not suffer these punishment when charges are filed and served more prison time and visa versa. It is double jeopardy.

All these should not be outside issues. They are institutional matters because Polk Correctional Institution higher official Mr. Muns and Mr. Ryan fail to fixes the special housing problems by first addressing their lower officers' behavior. Instead of giving more hard work to the Court of Justice as also affecting groups of prisoners sentences and making an unsafe and unhygienic housing for both prisoners as well for staff members also.

Just get lower officers lack of doing what they were hired for to do their work.

Finally, Mr. Muns also Mr. Ryan fail to understand, balanced, and excellent neglected to mention the typical hours for lower officer workers is 12 hours a day, 2 to 3 days a week. Staff are overly tired, burned out officers workers will make errors causing harm to prisoners in many ways to neighbors, and to themselves the prison staff is under staffed.

This is how special house crazy is.

North Carolina prisoner legal services could this office put hands on this matters to challenge in court?

I wait for you to hear a trustful and positive respond. Thanks you very much.

Relief sought, to hire the amount staff workers correct by state statute indicate. Fix special housing problems that affects a group of prisoners or close high security maximum control N.C. building. We demand our grievances are addressed. Address all points above in this sorta grievance. Remove Mr. Ryan from office.

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[Hunger Strike] [Abuse] [Polk Youth Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 39]
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Hunger Strikers in NC Protesting Basic Conditions

Smash the SHU

On Monday, 19 May 2014, 7 prisoners at Polk Correctional on the H-Con Unit began a hunger strike due to inhumane conditions, and finally some getting fed up with the mistreatment. It is day 4 and 8 comrades refused their breakfast this morning. Some of the demands are:

  1. need brooms to sweep cells
  2. need nail clippers to exercise proper hygiene
  3. need outside recreation
  4. need new trays, ones now are cracked, split, peeling causing us to find plastic in our food
  5. staff need to wear hair nets/change gloves for food preparation and serving
  6. need headphones sold separately in canteen so we don't have to buy a whole new radio
  7. stop taking mattress and religious property as punishment for up to 3 days
  8. special housing cells need to be cleaned daily - currently have blood, bodily fluids in them and comrades are placed in them naked on suicide watch, only given 4 sheets of toilet paper, no hygiene, forced to eat with dirty hands
  9. need a law library
  10. stop use of nutraloaf as punishment
  11. stop keeping us on H-Con 18-24 months before letting us off even without getting write ups
  12. stop using restraints as punishment

These are just some of the most important of 33 demands. I am asking other comrades to join in support and fast or to write to:

Frank L. Perry, Secretary
Division of Prisons
4201 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4201

and,

U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20530

or other forms of protest that do not cause you to receive an infraction. Also, pump them fists as we got a victory in the Central Prison Unit 1 case. They have to use a hand-held camera during all use of force, specifically after the use of force or during/until you are put back in your cell and no longer in contact with corrections staff. So hear it, can I get a hell yeah from all my comrades!

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Polk Youth Institution] [North Carolina]
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United Action in NC Leads to Victory for Prisoners

On August 2nd my old cellmate had only been here 5 days and within those 5 days the pigs were really messing with him. Then on the 2nd they told him they were moving him, just to move an inmate across the hall into his cell. They were going to move him to the end of the hall in a sally port with a prisoner who had feces smeared on his cell wall and old food in his cell. Before the move he asked to see the Sgt/Lt, but was told no, pack up or they would pack his stuff.

After moving he and I were at recreation call and we, along with one other prisoner, refused to lock up until the Lt/Captain came down. When she came I locked up. As she approached his sally port she asked what the smell was. He explained. They got the prisoner out of his cell and janitors bleached and removed all the items from the cell, and after the weekend on 8/5 he was moved to another cell.

Had we not stood our ground that prisoner's cell would still be covered in feces. The pigs knew this and were doing nothing. All of the H-Con staff here at Polk Incorrectional institution just didn't care, and went even further to harass a prisoner who they thought they could take advantage of due to his health (he just had surgery on his foot to reattach bones and replace a steel rod after PERT team pigs shattered it during an assault using excessive use of force a few months back). We need more times of unity like this in North Carolina prisons.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a small example of prisoners uniting for common cause. And this is a good start to building the broader unity that is necessary for the United Front for Peace that will build the power and strength of the anti-imperialist movement behind bars.

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[Organizing] [Polk Youth Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 31]
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Protest Breaks Out in North Carolina

On December 3, 2012 a small peaceful demonstration started. Here on supermax, prisoners refused to go inside their cells because they were tired of being oppressed. The pigs oppress us by not giving what's needed and intimidating prisoners. It started when a prisoner put his hands out to be cuffed. As soon as his hands came out of the small port door these cowardly pigs pulled his arm out of the trap and tried to break his arm. Luckily he had the strength to pull his arm away from the 4 pigs. After all was done the prisoners went back in their cells.

This is why the pigs think they can run us over with their oppressive ways and tactics. We as a group need to stand up and put these pigs in their place. These pigs know they got fellow pigs that have their backs, snitch ass prisoners I call rats, also the prisoners who are all about material things that these wanna-be hustler pigs can provide. These same prisoners are being oppressed with Security Threat Group (Gang Task Force) loss of jobs and privileges. But they don't want to unite. They'd rather use the pigs to get at a fellow prisoner. Slowly these prisoners are becoming part of the oppressor. All that I can say about these prisoners is "it's time to quit trying to be super gangsta and be a man. If you wanna ride, ride on these oppressive pigs. These pigs are the ones disrespecting you as a man with your neck under his boot."


MIM(Prisons) responds: Outbreaks of spontaneous protest like this one are a start to raising prisoners' consciousness about the need for unity against the criminal injustice system. This unity won't come overnight; we need to build it through education and discussion. Those who have been taught that they can benefit by snitching or turning their backs or hustling can be won over to the revolutionary cause, but we must put in the time to educate them. Sharing Under Lock & Key, starting study groups, talking to people, are all essential day-to-day organizing activities if we are going to build unity. Often we hear complaints about lack of unity, or lack of revolutionary consciousness. And we know this is a big problem in the prisons, but this is why our principal task right now is education. Incidents like this show us that the material interest is there, and we must build on that.

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[Campaigns] [Abuse] [Polk Youth Institution] [North Carolina]
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Protest Sanitary Conditions in North Carolina Polk CF

The sanitary conditions in the dining halls, bakery, freezer, dish room, stock room, serving line and other areas within Polk Correctional's kitchen are appalling. Prisoners voice their concerns to an unresponsive administration and continue to suffer from their lack of concern for the health of the inmate population.

A rat infestation is only the first and most prevalent of a long list of problems stemming from an environment where amateurism and incompetence prevail. This can be seen when a prisoner finds a rodent, or evidence of one, in the food and his overseer - in one particular case a Mr. Covington - told him "what the hell do you want me to do about it?" We merely wish for you, or apparently someone else with high qualification for the position, to do their job. Prisoners will no longer tolerate an administration which, in a bout of penny-pinching due to a cash-starved Department of Corrections, sweeps their problems under a rug. We will no longer accept this as a fact of prison life.

Gone are the days when a prisoner grievance form was the only effective means to make the necessary changes occur. (Which was more often than not a hit or miss process for justice in these matters, and that was if the paperwork did not eventually become "misplaced" or "fall through the cracks" as one Sargent commented on an unrelated matter involving paperwork.)

We have by passed the ineffective administration on the Polk compound and wish to raise awareness, not only to the Division of Prisons, but the Prison Ministries of the Rural People's Party and Maoist Internationalist Movement respectively and the daily newspaper, The News & Observer, that the health/sanitary conditions are only dealt with when the top officials of the state prison system converge on Polk (as was done several weeks ago) or when State Health Inspectors notify prison authorities of an upcoming visit (as was seen on May 28th when guards could be seen running scared with mops and buckets of paint).

We do not wish for cleanliness only on state visits, but as a permanent fact. Officers Covington, Miller, Evans, Gardner, Frazier and Hawkins (to name a few) have been fully aware of this inconvenient reality for quite some time (several have been employed for a decade or more) and have perfected the art of polishing off an apple which is rotten from within.

Polk Correctional, and doubtless the majority of the 73 correctional institutions in the state, need an administrative overhaul to replace officials who are all too familiar on how to cut corners and achieve only the minimum. United Lumpenproletarians from Within (ULW) demands a long-overdue shake-up of the top prison administration at Polk Correctional and other facilities in order to replace incompetent officials with competent and qualified ones. We do not want their overseers to just slap them on the hand which triggers a 2 week "cleanliness is godliness" program and the dismissal of several "trouble-making elements" within the prison kitchen service in retaliation for their higher-ups actually making state employees do their jobs.

As I have stated earlier, the rodent, insect (cockroaches, ants) and severe mold and mildew (asbestos) issues are just one of many problems that prisoners must deal with. As you read other prisoner's testimonies, several have revealed their concern not only of the multiple infestations, unjustified disrespectful conduct by our handlers, but also of a severe shortage in shoes and clothing.

Prisoners are facing sanitary concerns on two fronts. I will elaborate further upon request, but at this time I will post this out in the hopes that the most prevalent of our concerns (physical evidence enclosed) will be brought to light and properly addressed.

This letter came with 10 testimonials from other prisoners at Polk. Below are 3 of those statements

I work at a State Correctional Facility and have seen rats in the storage room, have seen fruit flies on old bananas. I've seen floors mopped with cold water only to keep from stripping the wax. I've seen spills left for days in segregation units. Ants are slowly taking over some of the building. Prisoners ask if they can clean their rooms and the Sargents or unit managers say no. The stairwells are filthy, and there are so many dust bunnies, you could make blankets out of them. Management wonders why some of the staff doesn't want to work.

I am writing this complaint because of the lack of the kitchen's effort to keep the kitchen a clean and sanitary place to prepare and serve food fro the prisoners at Polk Correctional Institution. On a number of occasions I have seen mice running free about the kitchen. I have seen them in the area where the food is stored, prepared, cooked and on the line where the prisoners were served. In one occasion I even saw mice droppings in the breakfast meat that was being stored in the cooler at the time. I have seen holes that have been bitten into loafs of bread. I hope that whoever receives this statement will take action as soon as possible. This type of neglect is unacceptable.

I've been working in the kitchen for a month and a half. The kitchen is very nasty. There are always flies everywhere in the kitchen. I've also seen bread that has been eaten by rats, it is very disturbing. There is another problem, there are rat feces in the food and the freezers. They also expect us to wear the same clothes we use for work in the kitchen even though our clothes are always filthy after work. If someone could please help us with these problems we would all be thankful for your help.

We are asking people to write to the NC DOC to protest these conditions
NC DOC Division of Prisons
831 W. Morgan St
Raleigh, NC 27603-1659

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[Abuse] [Polk Youth Institution] [North Carolina]
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Mice, Ants and Mold in Polk Kitchen

Two prisoners wrote to MIM(Prisons) with concern about the conditions of Polk Correctional Institution's kitchen. This disregard for the health and safety of prisoners is typical of Amerikan prisons.

The first prisoner writes:

I am a prisoner working in the kitchen at Polk Correctional Institution and I'm a little worried about the rat infestation, ants and mildew problem. The rat infestation is so bad that they food they pass out sometimes has rats or mice in the food. And the ants are all over the place, unless staff hears of an inspection and then they have the prisoners clean the coolers out where most of the mice and rats get food. The mildew is so bad that it has upset my asthma.

The second prisoner goes into more detail:

This letter is to inform you of the conditions of Polk's kitchen. I am a first shift kitchen worker. I have worked in numerous kitchens in North Carolina such as Bob Evans, Red Lobster and others. So I accepted the job here at Polk figuring everything should be rudimentary. What I learned on the job about the preparation of the food has led me to barely eat due to sanitation issues.

As soon as you enter the kitchen you smell an odor of mildew and once you reach the pots and pans and segregation line stations the smell is so unbearable that you get cold chills, goosebumps, etc. They tell us to use dish soap on it or scrub it, but the problem never gets solved.

I remember a time when the potatoes were dropped on the floor and we were told to pick it up and put the lids back on and proceed to delivering them to prisoners. The most dangerous thing in the kitchen besides the mold is the mice. There is a serious infestation in the kitchen that needs to be taken care of.

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