Prisoners Report on Conditions in

New Mexico 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.

[Abuse] [New Mexico]
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Regular Lockdown in New Mexico

While oppression in prison is nothing new and far from shocking, the current situation in the New Mexico prison system is not only shocking but also comical due to the ridiculousness.

Allow me to explain. Due to a budget shortfall in the New Mexico corrections department (NMCD), all state-run prisons in New Mexico are placed on a week long lockdown every month. This lockdown is said to be cost-cutting allowing the NMCD to continue functioning.

Yet even with the NMCD in this "dire" circumstance the state legislature is passing new laws enacting new mandatory minimums. Programs previously offered to prisoners allowing them to collect good time lump sums and result in an early release have been taken away.

Lastly, NMCD has placed all prisoners labeled as gang members into restrictive custody housing (level 4). This custody is costly in comparison to general population. In addition to being costly, this move is prejudicial. Only prisoners from California or having ties to California are subject to this action. Disciplinary history, charges, etc. have no bearing on the decision and most prisoners in this situation have years of clear conduct.

Level 4 is usually reserved for prisoners whose actions are considered problematic. However as I said the "California" label is all they are going off.

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[Organizing] [Lea County Detention Center] [New Mexico]
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New Mexico Pre-Trial Facility Food Strike Against Cruel Conditions

I am writing regarding our circumstances here in Lea County Detention Facility. As a group we have decided to go on a food strike to protest inhuman conditions of isolation. This facility and administration automatically has placed the majority of individuals in some type of Ad-Seg. We are currently locked down 23 hours a day with one hour out to get rec, shower, visit and telephone use. During our one hour out we have to do all that needs to be taken care of, which is impossible. This is cruel and unusual punishment.

We have found ourselves getting treated as if we have already been found guilty for our charges and the majority of us have not even been to court. Their excuse is that a couple years ago some prisoners caused some trouble and now we are being punished for something that we had absolutely no personal participation in. None of those prisoners are in this facility any longer.

At the moment we are on a group food strike. We are being treated like animals. I personally have been to prison and in their Ad-Seg lockdown system we are treated better than here. We would like to be heard, and ask that this facility be investigated. There have been suicidal deaths in this facility due to our situation.

On November 21 I was put in full restraints. I was placed in ankle locks and belly chains with my hands cuffed to my belly chains. And I was forced to take a shower in full restraints! I was also in full restraints during my 1 hour out.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We have been getting letters from prisoners across the country who were inspired by the food strike in California prisons and want to use this tactic to bring attention and change to conditions in their own state's prisons. We support our comrades organizing and fighting for better conditions. And we point to an article in Under Lock & Key 23 which provided an analysis of the California food strike and focused on the importance of ensuring comrades are fully prepared for these actions before they begin. How a campaign is led will determine whether it is inspiring or discouraging to the larger prison population.

As we noted in that article: "One of the major lessons of this hunger strike is the need for a unifying organizational structure through which action can be coordinated and goals and information can be formulated and shared. The United Front for Peace in Prisons provides this opportunity by bringing together LOs and individuals who understand the importance of unity against the common enemy."

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[Censorship] [Legal] [New Mexico]
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Legal Mail caselaw needed

I have been getting blocked from accessing the courts by mail due to my indigency and DACDC refusing to send out my legal mail to the courts. I have been writing 2-3 times per week to submit motions and add exhibits as evidence including 40 more mail rejection notices and 10 envelopes from the Supreme Court of New Mexico Law Library that were not processed properly as legal mail. Can you advise me on this or at least give me appropriate case law to cite in this regard?

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[Legal] [Political Repression] [New Mexico] [ULK Issue 4]
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Denial of mail and legal rights in New Mexico

This facility here is one of the most over controlled I've been in. You can receive no books, magazines, newspapers or periodicals from the outside. There is no educational material available. There is no mail allowed that has xeroxes, printed by ink jet, internet copies, pictures downloaded from the internet, laser-printer photographs, newspaper or magazine clippings, postcards, envelopes with XOXO, S.W.A.K. (sealed with a kiss) or write back soon, perfume smell or lipstick markings.

There is no access to a law library or legal materials here. I have had legal mail opened not in my presence and have even had legal mail taken because it contained information about how to fight the system a case law about the constitutional rights of prisoners from the Center for Constitutional Rights - a law firm out of New York. It also contained a book called "The Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook". When the contents were seen, the envelope was resealed and sent back.

I have saved and documented everything. I have written up a civil rights complaint against the jail, Aramark (a prison industry complex member) and 3 officers, but I am unable to file because they refuse to let me make the required copies or get a 6 month copy of my trust account which is required to file In Forma Papuperis.

Also I was helping and advising several other prisoners on how to file suit. I had them file grievances to exhaust the administrative remedies as required by the prison litigation reform act. The administration has caught on to what I'm doing and has refused to answer any of the grievances that match the three issues I am trying to take to court. They refuse to answer them because without proof of exhausting the administrative remedies process, they can not take issues to court.

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[Release] [New Mexico]
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Parole is a revolving door

I do not commit crimes for fun or drugs. I commit them to survive and drugs just go along with the crime scene. I have been repeatedly released from the California Department of Corrections with no hope and no resources. They have taught me no skills to survive in the world or get a job. I parole with $200 and the clothes on my back, no family support and no place to stay and no job leads and only marginal skills to get one. It is only a matter of days before I have to turn to crime to keep myself fed and a roof over my head.

The parole department says it can get you housing, but it takes weeks if not months. And without a stable place to stay you can get nowhere. The system is set up for failure of parolees to keep recidivism rates high and prison populations soaring and the money flowing into the prison industrial complex. And because of this system, I have spent most of my adult life locked up and ma facing 25 years in California after I get done in New Mexico.

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[Control Units] [New Mexico]
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Control Units in New Mexico

I am currently housed in a CU as of June 18. There are approximately 30 people in this unit. About half of this detention center is control units. Pods D1-D4, B1, B4, G1 and G4 are regular population. Units F1, F2, B2, B3, C2 and the SHU are all lock down. Originally in 97 when this facility opened it was only the SHU that was a CU. Since then the CUs have been expanding, moving from unit to unit, most recently to C2 which only happened a month or so ago.

Most of the population of the CU is Latino which some whites. I have seen no Blacks.

We are only given 1 hour out of cell rec time, every other day.

I was placed in here for "failure to obey" and "disrespect to staff." I was told to close another prisoner's door and when refused was placed on "pre-disciplinary lockdown" (CTQ). I told the officer she was a bitch and was moved to here. People are in here for various reasons. Being "gang affiliated" or fighting mostly. One prisoner is here because he has a clover tattooed on him and it is believed to be a gang tattoo but he's just Irish.

I have no idea how long I will be in here or when I will get any kind of hearing. This is a county facility and I am a pre-trial detainee.

I have also been in CUs in R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego CA, Mule Creek State Prison in Ione CA and Palm Hall in Chino Prison. The last one you get about 2 hours a week out of your cell.

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