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.
As of 22 August 2016 I have begun a peaceful protest (Hunger Strike). If my death would be the price for oversight on the New York State Department of Correctional and Community Supervision (DOCCS) and a complete stop of abuse racism, intimidation, inhumane treatment of solitary confinement and most of all staff brutality so be it!
On 10 August 2016, I was beaten and called racial names and threatened by correctional officers Horvey, T. Erbach and three others whose names are unknown, in the presence of an area supervisor, Sergeant Keith McFall. Sergeant McFall was the individual who made the threats to plant a weapon, two in fact. NYS DOCCS haven't begun an investigation, and when they do the conclusion will be biased as the COs try to justify their actions by filing and submitting false documents (use of force and misbehavior report) stating I attempted to strike the officer, which is a complete lie.
Furthermore, I have no personal property because Attica Correctional Facility refuses to ship my property as a retaliation to a situation that transpired at that facility because of the correctional officers not feeding individuals. Prisoners, including myself, began an uprising which was the cause of the transfer to Southport CF. Anyhow, I refuse to eat until a full investigation is done and I receive my property. These correctional officers must/should be charged with gang assault in the 1st degree Penal Law 175.35.
August is approaching rather quickly and before I address the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity, I want to address the making of such a day of global recognition.
Black August is the representation of struggle. Black August is a clear representation of the resistance exhibited by the oppressed who fought not to return the deed of enslaving their unfortunate captors, holders or those who sought their demise; but, rather, to end the slave economy. Black August is the awakening of the poor of all nationalities to stand up and fight to end the oppression we encounter on all levels.
This fight doesn't entail the necessary requirement to pick up guns. Violence only begets violence. To bring peace, unity, growth, internationalism and global independence, we are to share our experiences to come up with a solution to prevent these unfortunate encounters from being transferred to our youth. The key is communication and patience. Black August is for all who seek programs of productive change to participate. We welcome all who are indeed sincere in change to engage in this growth.
Our commemoration of the 9 September 1971 Attica uprising should be a somber day of triumph and, more importantly, solidarity. The Attica uprising ignited not too long after the untimely demise of our beloved revolutionary comrade George Jackson, who was shot to death by tower guards in the San Quentin maximum security prison on 21 August 1971 — one year and two weeks after the death of his little brother Jonathan "Manchild" Jackson who was gunned down on 7 August 1970.
Much sorrow is attached to the Attica uprising, for the physical loss of so many brothers. The purpose of the Attica uprising was for better conditions of prisoners (i.e. education, cleaning areas, an end to racial discrimination, etc.). The courage these comrades displayed never will be forgotten. It is up to us to see that their memories are honored, and the first step to this effort is learning and then teaching those who wish to learn.
I currently reside in Attica and I teach as much as I possibly can regarding the law and history. It's the key to our liberation and only us (united soldiers) can be held responsible for the new surge of our youth entering the prison system at such young ages. We are their keys to betterment, provided we aim for better conditions ourselves.
During Black August fast till sundown. From September 9-13 fast as well from sun up to sundown in true solidarity of our comrades.
MIM(Prisons) responds: As we see in other articles about the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity, there are many ways to organize and recognize this day. Some will choose to fast, others will choose to engage in education towards greater unity, still others will spend the day in quiet contemplation and study. What you do will of course be determined somewhat by your conditions. But whatever your action, be sure to emphasize the building of peace and unity. In general, we don't agree with this writer that "violence only begets violence." We know that the oppressors won't put down their guns and stop killing those they oppress without physical force. But our current stage of struggle is a peaceful one. We echo this comrade's call to cease all violence on this day, and instead build between the groups that might otherwise stay apart. Talk about ways you can work together against the common enemy of the criminal injustice system. However you commemorate the Day of Peace and Solidarity, send in a report on what you did to Under Lock & Key on September 10 to be included in the next issue.
These "people-incorporating-genocidal-slavery" have upped the ante once again. I was targeted by these nefarious boars simply for my political views. On Oct 14, 2012, two ogres searched and seized my property i.e. all my essays, my books, and all my Under Lock & Key dated as far back as 1995. At the biased in-house tribunal two articles from ULK were presented to me: 1) a 1991 Attikkka issue explaining the situation before and after the rebellion of 1971. 2) The July/Aug 2012 issue which calls for "all prisoners to show solidarity and demonstrate a work stoppage from Sept 9-12, 2012." Keep in mind I never passed this publication about nor did I participate in a work stoppage. I have no prison job. Also, the article mentioned above was for Sept 9-12, 2012. I was keep locked pending investigation on Oct 14, 2012. That's 35 days later.
Anyway, I was charged with a Tier III rule violation of 104.12 (demonstration) which reads: "an inmate shall not lead, organize, participate in or urge other inmates to participate in a work stoppage, sit-in, lock-in, or any other action which may be detrimental to the order of the facility."
At the farce hearing I presented the question: "where in the facility was there an actual work stoppage?" The response was: "There was no work stoppage." My second question was: "when did I urge other prisoners to demonstrate and when did the alleged work stoppage, sit-in, lock-in take place?" The response was: "you never participated in nor was there ever a work stoppage, sit-in, lock-in." With no further questions I objected to the entire circus of a hearing only to receive six months SHU time anyway. This whole ordeal is due to me possessing ULK publications, although they can't actually state it at the hearing. Furthermore, the hearing disposition reads: "although no actual act of demonstration occurred I believed you attempted it." Only after a cell search 35 days later, and after an incident that never took place, do I receive such a bogus charge. Go figure.
This isn't the first political witch hunt in which I was erroneously charged with demonstrations and it won't be the last! These ruthless gulags pride themselves on oppressing the free thinkers like me, especially Attikkka! Keep sending me the Under Lock and Key.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We have heard from a number of comrades that the article calling for a Day of Solidarity on September 9 led to heightened censorship and punishment of prisoners. We know that there are restrictions on the types of organizing permitted in many prisons and we are looking closely at the language used in these types of articles to make possible the widest distribution of ULK without sacrificing the content of the publication.
For the morning meal the mess hall was virtually empty. For the noon meal there were approximately 120 prisoners in attendance. Usually, when they serve baked chicken and rice there are some 360 prisoners in attendance. A lot more prisoners turned out for the evening meal. Overall there was a low attendance for meals.
Next year things will be different and better organized. I'm in the process of obtaining two articles dealing with the Attica rebellion. I'll have copies of the articles run off and give one of each to the entire prison population. This can be accomplished within a year's time.
Desde el 9 al 13 de septiembre 2011, marcamos el 40 aniversario de la rebelión de Attica. Fueron 1200 presos que actuaron como una sola fuerza, se organizaron y colectivamente ocuparon la correccional de Attica en el estado de Nueva York. El motín resultó en lo que un comisionario del estado describió como "el encuentro más sangriento entre estadunidenses desde la guerra civil [...] con excepción de la masacre de los indios nativos en el siglo diecinueve”.
En 1991, MIM escribió un suplemento especial para conmemorar el 20 aniversario, que documenta el evento histórico y su legado. Este mismo año presos en Nueva York, Nueva Jersey y Maryland boicotearon todos los programas del 12 de septiembre para "rendir homenaje a los martirios y guerreros que sufrieron, y quienes siguen sufriendo, bajo la represión del sistema penal de los Estados Unidos".
Las demandas de los presos de Attica en 1971 incluyeron cosas como el derecho de los presos de Nueva York a mantener una vida política sin temor de intimidaciones y represalias, el fin de censuras del correo personal y de los medios de prensa, la exigencia por más oportunidades de educación y trabajo de salario mínimo, y la liberación de presos sin condiciones de libertad. Además de estas demandas rectas, los presos emparentaron su lucha con aquella del pueblo del Tercer Mundo. La Historia condena la reforma de correccionales de MC11:
"Los presos de Attica en el año 1971 no estaban pidiendo el tipo de reforma que liberales ahora, y entonces, están ansiosos por implementar para hacerse sentir mejor. Los presos de Attica reconocieron el sistema de justicia criminal como una arma poderosa en el arsenal de la clase capitalista y querrían voltear esa arma contra sus opresores”.
"Hemos descubierto…la frustración de intentar de negociar con un sistema político empeñado en el genocidio", escribieron los presos de Attica en una declaración que fue pasada por contrabando durante la semana después del masacre.
"Se están cometiendo asesinatos no sólo en Vietnam, sino también en Bangladesh, África y Sudamérica. ¿Y qué no es cierto que nuestra declaración de independencia nos otorga el derecho de anular un gobierno que opresa a su pueblo y crear un gobierno nuevo? ¡Pues, nosotros aquí en Attica como todos los revolucionarios de toda la nación estamos ejerciendo ese derecho! ¡El tiempo es ahora para que todas las personas del Tercero Mundo reconozcan el verdadero opresor y lo expongan al resto del mundo!” (1)
En el articulo principal de las notas suplementarias de MIM, un preso menciona que Attica marcó un surgimiento fuerte en el movimiento por los derechos de los presos durante los primeros años de los años 70. En el último año hemos visto huelgas en los estados de Georgia y California donde miles de presos han participado en varias prisiones. Pero aún así parece que el movimiento todavía tiene que escalar aún más alto para poder llegar al mismo punto álgido de nuestra lucha que alcanzamos en aquellos días.
Mirando hacia atrás a Attica y las rebeliones antepasadas, podemos ver el principio y el final del periodo en el cual la contradicción entre los presos y el estado estaba a la vanguardia. La lucha durante este periodo trajo un poco de progreso para los preso en la forma de derechos temporales, concesiones y el apoyo del mundo libre para los cautivos. Pero aún más importante, miramos organizaciones colectivas juntarse en masa, uniendo a presos por su sufrimiento y abuso común por todo el alrededor del sistema de prisiones en los Estados Unidos. Esta unidad y lucha logró empujar al estado hacia atrás. Pero al mismo tiempo, también provocó que el estado desarrollara un plan para los reclusorios de aislamiento permanente y también pólizas que empojan drogas sicotrópicas a los presos mientras nuestros programas están nuevamente suspendidos, reafirmando la futilidad de la reforma de prisiones. Incluso en estos días cuando el estado se enfrenta a una resistencia significativa, se presenta en forma de demandas en los tribunales y huelgas de hambre donde se controla todo medio de comunicación y negociación muy firmemente. Todavía estamos en la etapa de jugar sus juegos con sus reglas y sus condiciones.
Hace solamente dos años, el 17 de septiembre 2009, que nuestro camarada Amare (Ra'd) Selton de "United Struggle from Within" se murió en Attica. Selton era un contribuidor regular de "Under Lock & Key” y también participaba en grupos de estudio de MIM, y con frecuencia tenia confrontaciones con los guardias de la prisión. No sabemos las exactas circunstancias de su muerte, pero MIM(Prisons) mantiene al estado de Nueva York responsable. Él es uno de muchos compañeros que han desaparecido después de ser enviado a Attica en los últimos años, demostrando el legado de represión que no ha disminuido.
En las notas de MIM, MC67 entrevistó a Akil Aljundi, uno de los hermanos de Attica que presentó una demanda, que finalmente ganó, contra el estado de Nueva York tras el asesinato de 32 de sus camaradas y 10 rehenes, y tras el embrutecimiento y negación de asistencia medica a cienes de otros.
MC67 concluye preguntándose cuales son las lecciones que se pueden extraer de la sublevación de Attica, a la que Aljudi responde: "Nunca confíen en el estado. Siempre estén preparados para lo peor. Sean firmes con sus demandas. Sean claros con sus objetivos. Pero también sepan que el estado puede ser malicioso”.
[The following is a compilation of reporting and analysis from MIM, MIM(Prisons) and USW comrades to commemorate the Attica uprising.]
This week, September 9 - 13 2011, marks the 40th anniversary of the Attica uprising where over 1200 prisoners acted as one, organized as a collective and occupied Attica Correctional Facility in New York State. The uprising ended in what a state commission described as "the bloodiest one-day encounter between Americans since the Civil War", "[w]ith the exception of the Indian massacres in the late nineteenth century[.]"
In 1991, MIM Notes ran a special supplement to commemorate the 20th anniversary, which documented that historic event and its legacy. That same year, prisoners in New York, New Jersey and Maryland boycotted all programming on September 13 to "give honor to the martyrs and warriors who suffered, and are still suffering, under the suppression of the American prison system."
The demands of the Attica prisoners in 1971 included things such as allowing New York prisoners to be politically active without intimidation or reprisals, an end to all censorship of mail and media, more educational and work opportunities that pay minimum wage, and release without parole conditions. In addition to these righteous demands, the prisoners connected their struggle to that of the people of the Third World. From History Condemns Prison Reform by MC11:
The Attica prisoners in 1971 were not asking for the sort of reforms liberals then and now are so anxious to implement in order to make themselves feel better. The Attica prisoners recognized the criminal justice system as a powerful weapon in the arsenal of the capitalist class, and they wanted to turn that weapon on their oppressors.
"We have discovered... the frustration of negotiating with a political system bent on genocide," the prisoners wrote in a statement smuggled out during the week following the massacre.
"Killings are being committed not only in VietNam, but in Bengla Desh, Africa and South America. Is it not so that our Declaration of Independence provides that when a government oppresses the people, they have a right to abolish it and create a new government? And we at 'Attica' and all revolutionaries across the nation are exercising that right! The time is now that all third world people acknowledge the true oppressor and expose him to the world!!"(1)
In the lead article of the MIM Notes supplement, a prisoner mentions that Attica marked the rise of a strong prison movement during the early 1970s. In the last year we've seen strikes in Georgia and California where thousands of prisoners participated across many prisons. Yet, it seems the prison movement has a steeper mountain to climb to get to the point that the struggle reached in those days.
Looking back on Attica and those past rebellions, one sees the start and finish of a period where the contradiction between prisoners and the state was at the forefront. The struggle during that period led to some progress on the side of prisoners in the form of temporary rights, concessions and free world support for captives. But more importantly, we saw collective organization on a mass scale throughout the U.$. prison system that united prisoners around their common suffering and abuse. This unity and struggle pushed the state back some. At the same time, it also led the state to develop a plan for permanent long-term isolation prisons, as well as policies that push psychotropic drugs on prisoners while programming is once again taken away, reinforcing the futility of prison reform. Even when the state faces significant resistance these days, it comes in the form of lawsuits in their courts, and hunger strikes where they control communications and negotiations very tightly. We're still in the stage of playing their game by their rules.
It was just two years ago, on 17 September 2009 that United Struggle from Within comrade Amare (Ra'd) Selton died in Attica. Selton was a regular contributor to Under Lock & Key and MIM-led study groups, and often ended up in confrontations with prison guards. We do not know the exact circumstances surrounding his death, but MIM(Prisons) holds the State of New York responsible. He is one of many comrades who have disappeared after being sent to Attica in recent years, indicating the legacy of repression that has not lessened.
In MIM Notes, MC67 interviewed Akil Aljundi, one of the Attica Brothers that filed suit (and eventually won) against the State of New York following the murder of 32 of his comrades and 10 hostages, and the brutalization and denial of medical care to hundreds of others. MC67 concludes by asking what lessons should be drawn from the Attica uprising, to which Aljundi responds:
"Never trust the state. Always be prepared to look for the worst to happen. Be firm in your demands. Be clear in your objectives. But also realize that the state can be vicious."
Editor's Note: We receive many letters critical of lumpen organizations (LOs) from prisoners across the country reflecting the contradictory aspects of the lumpen class. Some are from alleged former members, wishing to do exposés of these organizations. For the lumpen to be internally critical is a necessary step for the development of a proletarian consciousness among the oppressed inside U.$. borders. However, to print public criticisms without providing real alternatives and leadership does more harm than good.
Our task is to develop a united front among those groups of people who have an interest in opposing imperialism. We must work with the material given us and not disregard the masses because of their backwardness. Not working for the pigs is a start, but we only print parts of this critique to allow our comrade to respond and illustrate a better approach for all who are facing similar situations.
It's time for a peaceful revolution here in the state of New York Department of Correctional Services because with violence we are not going to accomplish anything. Especially with all these rats running around who will sell their souls for an extra tray or a roll (cigarette). Speaking about rats, let's start with the ALKQN. The reality here is that this organization was founded in 1939-1940 by Lord Gino Gustavo to stop the abuse and terribly degrading way us Latinos were being treated in Chicago by the pigs inside and outside of the walls of lost souls, to stand up as people against the unjust government that was oppressing us and pouring drugs into the Latino communities. The ALK (ALKQN is for NY only, not Chi-town) was a revolutionary movement; a strong radical group of men who seriously believed in their people as a whole made up of Blacks, Latinos, and peoples of all races and ethnic backgrounds.
Nevertheless, here in NYS DOCS the ALKQN has become a major joke. These infidels work for the facilities' administration and closely with the pigs. This has been a trend for these pig-loving maggots in Attica CI. These so-called revolutionary dudes cut, stab, steal, rob, and intimidate prisoners just for the pigs. In return these pig-lovers get TVs, radios, or beat overdose tickets for their cooperation.
I don't understand where these dudes went wrong but one thing for sure is simple. They need to stop working for the pigs and administration and really rise up and make a positive stand for what we as a whole are supposed to be about: respect, honesty, unity, knowledge, loyalty and most of all love.
a New York prisoner
ECC.1:1 for ALKQN/PLF responds: In response to the above critique of the particular lumpen organization (LO), the question still remains as to whether or not this is an honest attempt at revolutionary criticism in the spirit of Maoism, or more blatantly just a simple expression of mummified discontent.
The beginning paragraph starts off with both a call for "peaceful" revolution and a mutual denouncement of violence because, based upon the writer's logic, "with violence we are not going to accomplish anything..." As debatable as any theory of "non-violent" revolution may be in the pages of ULK, there is still 1) an absolute lack of any kind of historical reference upon which to build from in the author's writing and 2) an immediate diversion of the topic into one that appears to be an attempt to dichotomize the LO in question based upon either A) the ill-perceived "Chicago-New York Complex," B) what the writer would/may have the masses believe to be the general practice of the membership of the latter and/or C) a convolution of both.
In direct response to A), the attempt to dichotomize the LO in question based upon either city of locale or a feeble attempt at label differentiation is a prime example of the type of demagoguery that only serves to disunite and confuse both present and future generations and the masses as a whole. As to both B) and C), the indication that police collaboration is a problem unique to the New York brand of the LO in question is one based upon both fallacy and a disillusionment of reality. Police collaboration is a threat to all LOs, their respective branches, sections, sets, chapters, etc. It is a threat to any organized group, party, etc. that opposes U.$. policy, period!
Assuming the writer is/was an actual member of the LO in question, the proposed solution to "rise up and make a positive stand for what we as a whole are supposed to be about: respect, unity, knowledge, loyalty and most of all love" is a solution nowhere apparent throughout the entire critique itself.
Finally, if one does not understand (as stated by the writer where s/he wrote that "I don't understand where these dudes went wrong") then the study of the class structure of the internal semi-colonies of the United $nakes is what one must understand. Three hundred sixty degrees of knowledge of revolutionary theory and practice. Anything else is just anti-King babble at its best, and pig work dividing the oppressed for the imperialists at its worst.
New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) reports that Mr. Amare Selton (aka Ra'd) #93A3756 died on 9/17/2009. An Eritrean national, Ra'd was an active anti-imperialist who began working with MIM in the mid-1990s.
Comrades of Ra'd have communicated with the DOCS central office in Albany, local Imam's, the statewide Chaplain in New York City and staff at Attica Correctional Facility, including the head counselor. The only information anyone could provide was the date he died. They all claimed to know nothing else and that they could not obtain further information. We print the following testimonies to honor Ra'd - Rest In Power comrade!
A comrade who studied with Ra'd:
Some of our readers will recognize Ra'd as someone who was an active and well-developed participant in our study cell. Contributing to this eulogy reminds me that the first time i remember Ra'd, a Sunni Muslim himself, struggling with MIM(Prisons) was in an extended debate over MIM's eulogy for Saddam Hussein. And as someone who spent over two thirds of his time in various long-term isolation he wrote on mental health units and an article on solitary confinement that was circulated at national conferences addressing the topic.
While the DOCS refuses to release a cause of death, comrades can attest to the fact that he was not suicidal. He found himself placed in mental health units for "anti-social behavior" such as getting into physical altercations with staff.
The enclosed photo is from 2004 following an extended beating of Ra'd by CO's E. Rizzo, M. Woodward, B. Smith and Sgt. T. Mitchell at Auburn Correctional Facility. After facing harassment including having his water shut off and no one responding to his complaints, Ra'd barricaded his door to trigger a cell extraction in hopes of getting the Sergeant's attention. In his affidavit he describes the long series of beatings and abuse he faced as a result. Sgt. T. Mitchell dug his knuckles into his neck saying, "Does it hurt, you nigger, you piece of shit...does it hurt now, stinkin' nigger...you fuckin' nigger..."
A fellow prisoner at Attica wrote after Ra'd's death:
The article in Under Lock & Key on censorship is an accurate description of what is going on at Attica Correctional Facility. They stop our mail from reaching certain destinations.
I recently wrote two complaints on officers in Attica. One was for an officer literally threatening me that if i was in general population i'd be going home in a body bag.
And the second complaint was regarding an officer who was serving my Kosher meal and while i was at my cell door for my hot water, he purposely tipped the cup over scalding my left hand and my private parts. This officer smiled the whole time at me. Attica is the most racist and dangerous prison in New York State. Everyday we are subjected to assaults by staff.
Now there is a new corruption going on in Attica by a lot of correctional staff. When any prisoner is brought to special housing, which used to be known as solitary confinement, all their stamps, cigarettes and even porno books are being stolen and given to snitches and ass kissers. This is done so that the stamps and pornos can be exchanged for cigarettes. Cigarettes cost almost $10.00 in New York State and you have officers robbing us to support their tobacco habits.
When you drop complaints, officers come to your cell threatening you with physical violence if you don't sign off on your complaint.
Society labels us with the tag of criminals, and for many of us we deserve such a tag. But i have come to know that some of the worst criminals in the Department of Correctional Services are working for it.
A close comrade who lived alongside Ra'd in recent years:
O Allah, receive our brother and comrade Ra'd with open arms for he aspired to be a martyr. O martyrs receive your brother (Ra'd) for he is one of our beloved. O prophets smile at him and give him some sweet foods and drink and most of all receive us when our turn comes. Hopefully, as we fight back unshackled, uncuffed.