Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Ohio 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.

[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Southern Ohio Correctional Facility] [Ohio]
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Chemical Warfare

These concentration camps are using chemicals that are carried on the pigs' hips along with their billy clubs and handcuffs. They call these chemicals mace, but I've been pondering on something for years now: what are the ingredients inside these cans that are being used on us? Do these chemicals have a long-term effect on a person's health? Riot cans are being used on us while we are locked down, and how does this make sense? We are lab rats being experimented on by these oppressors. The new trend is chemical warfare, and these oppressors are using different "toys" to instill fear to control us. They have mace ball guns where, instead of paint balls, the balls are filled with dry mace powder so that when a person is hit the powder gets all over their body causing a painful burning sensation. They have large fire extinguishers filled with foam mace and it's attached to battling rams. At least three to four days a week we are woken up choking from the aroma of these chemicals because the pigs have sprayed a prisoner.

The pigs walk around with riot cans prepared to spray prisoners at any time, and in most cases for no good reason at all, just because they can. I've witnessed numerous times these riot cans being put into a prisoner's mouth, prisoners being sprayed in their faces at point-blank range, or in their private regions while handcuffed. Personally I have been sprayed so many times that I have received chemical burns. I recall one night while resisting an injustice that was being done by these oppressors, they didn't want to assemble an extraction team so instead the pigs got about 10 riot cans and sat them on a table in front of the pod. These pigs' intentions were to spray from 1 a.m. all the way to 6 a.m. when another shift arrived.

Right now I am at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, aka Looneyville, and these pigs spray these chemicals on a daily basis. I've witnessed them spray prisoners numerous times under false pretense. I call this the "jump back." This is when the pigs walk around intimidating prisoners with their chemicals and if we don't comply with the pigs' demands then the pigs walk down the range to stand in front of a prisoner's bars and yells some gibberish and then "jumps back" pulling out their mace and spraying.

The Captain or Lieutenant comes and takes this prisoner to the hole, putting him in a slammer cell. The administrator accuses him of spitting or throwing something on a pig, which is is clearly a setup. When placed on the slammer side, the prisoner is put around the same pig that set them up and us further harassed. The pigs play with our food, cut off our water, and give us the bare minimum of our property.

If you write an informal complaint, eventually you'll get sprayed in retaliation, receiving a ticket and getting placed on phone and commissary restriction to try to limit your communication with society. If you present the issues to the Warden and administration, they'll pass it along to the pigs and they'll spray and jump you when they get the right opportunity.

These prisons remind me so much of Nazi concentration camps where hoards of humans were experimented on with different kinds of chemicals until they found the perfect ingredients to eliminate them. We don't know what long-lasting effects these chemicals have. These chemicals enter our bodies and we are being released back to society, making babies and don't even know what we are passing along. Got to watch these oppressors' every move because genocide is their long-term objective.

I just received a recent update that these oppressors are about to bring stun guns in! I sit here with fire in my eyes immune to their tactics because I know their true motives. I resist by any means necessary, organizing, networking, and educating until we become one mind, one body for one cause. All power to the people.

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[National Oppression] [Abuse] [Ross Correctional Institution] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 44]
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Ohio Guards Instigate Beating, Lock Down Prisoners as Punishment

Last month on a housing unit called 7A at Ross Correctional Institution (RCI), a prisoner was said to have a cell phone in his possession. The pigs entered his cell while he was in there, which is not allowed unless a "white shirt" is present (Lieutenant, Captain, etc.). While the pigs were in his cell they maced him, handcuffed him and beat him. As they were bringing this prisoner out of his cell, other prisoners watched as the pigs used unnecessary and brutal force by banging his head into the stair rail, hand rail and wall.

Fortunately this prisoner had three family members on the unit who stood up in his defense, which created an altercation that the pigs agitated. After macing and brutally beating these four prisoners plus thirty or forty more innocent bystanders, they shut the unit down on 24-hour lockdown with no showers, no recreation, and bag lunches with no hot food (which is also prohibited) for five days. They also put around fifty prisoners in solitary confinement.

The pigs here abuse their authority time and time again with no reprimands from their superior officers. They're in clear violation of excessive force, racial discrimination and bias, they deny us basic civil and human rights daily and have no regard for prisoners' lives, especially New Afrikans.

After the February fight, the RCI plantation held a press conference with the local news and lied to the public making it look like the prisoners were the cause of the February fight and that the RCI prison needs more security measures implemented here to safeguard, not us but them.

I come to you asking that you rally up the people and support our prison struggle by calling to inquire about the February fight and ensure the beaten prisoner and every other prisoner involved was given proper medical aid and assistance. Demand that no harassment or retaliation is being executed against any prisoner who uses the informal complaint process and/or has family and friends calling on their behalf. We need the people to demand an investigation be initiated and that more New Afrikans be hired here as staff and guards because I've been here for six months and have only seen five.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer is doing an important service to the anti-imperialist prison movement by exposing the brutality in RCI, and going further to suggest some actions people on the outside can take to help the struggle there. However, we disagree with this comrade that a solution is to hire more New Afrikan staff and guards. Just as with cops, or judges, or the President of the United $tates, putting more dark faces in positions of power will not change the fundamental nature of the system. These people only serve to make the system look more equal and fair, and perpetuate the national oppression that is an inherent part of Amerikan imperialism. We need to see this oppression for what it is: not just a lack of representation in some positions of power, but a systematic oppression of certain nations (New Afrikan, [email protected], First Nations) by the nation in power (the white nation). The only way to put an end to national oppression is to fight the imperialist system that perpetuates it.

Spontaneous uprisings in response to abuses can help to bring prisoners together over their common enemy, the prison guards. But spontaneous uprisings without proper organization are limited in their scope and easily crushed. And organized action without thorough political education is usually limited to reformism. Reformism leaves the institutions of national oppression intact on a global scale, pushing for benefits for the oppressed internal semi-colonies in the United $tates, gained on the backs of the international proletariat. We encourage our comrades at RCI to use incidents of abuse such as this one as opportunities to educate their fellow prisoners on how this incident fits in with the systemic oppression they face, and organize them to come together to combat these abuses. And we push them to organize in the context of an anti-imperialist struggle, so that their actions have an international impact. If you need organizing or educational materials, get in touch!

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[Campaigns] [Chillicothe Correctional Institution] [Ohio]
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Ohio, Chillicothe Grievance Culture

I hope this helps some how people in Texas, California, and Florida with how their grievance procedure is done. We have nothing compared to what I read goes on in those places. I filed 26 ICRs (informal complaints) and 11 NOGs(Notice of Grievance) in 2015. A five year low for me. The most serious grievance I made was a staff member trying to kill a litter of kittens.

Chillicothe Correctional Institution (CCI) is an old army base. It's 100 years old. There's 74 acres inside the fence with 2800 prisoners here. It's Ohio's oldest, largest, and most inmates prison. There are approximately 40 cats (outside cats) that we take care of that CCI refuses to help. We found homes for 14 last year.

Most of my grievances last year were to fix things or get things like fixing lights and coffee makers, to getting trash cans and clocks. But I've had years where it's been a lot worse and I've dealt or helped deal with problems closer to what I read in ULK.

It's nice having an institutional inspector who takes pride in his numbers. He likes having one of the lowest number of grievances compared to the other 29 institutions while in some instances having 2 times the number of prisoners. In doing that, he plays with the numbers a little, but that's how I get things done for myself and others. Commissary won't reimburse someone for a $2 copy card that was defective? Well, here's the claim (an NOG). Once he gets it, looks at it, he calls you up to his office. He then says if you take this NOG back, I'll copy anything you need. In another case, he's given out stamped envelopes, just so he does not have to log the grievance and keep his numbers down. For a small compensation grievance like this it's easier to do this than to put through the paperwork for a credit to your account. Quicker too.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade sets a good example pursuing grievances that are both large and small. And it's a very good tactic to take advantage of any opportunity to win a case, even if it's just for a few copies. Our victories and losses will come and go over time, but we must remain vigilant in fighting for our rights and seeking opportunities to gain some organizing space and resources. Our struggle is a long one, with the goal of overthrowing imperialism not likely to come in the near future. Let's take advantage of these small victories to help build unity and strength to fight the bigger anti-imperialist battle.

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[Gang Validation] [Political Repression] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 43]
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Prison Organizer Falsely Validated, Transferred and Fighting Back

I was the vice president of an organization called the Long Term Offenders (LTO) which was making a lot of progress with the people and producing drastic change within the prison itself. Before my position with the LTO I was receiving material from numerous groups and corresponding with multiple movements, but as soon as I got into this position and the watchdogs saw how the prison as a whole embraced our platform and supported our cause, which was in the best interest of the prisoners, the watchdogs began to keep a close eye on us, specifically on me. I caught wind that the administration was inquiring about me and I'm sure they received more than a few tips that "he's radical" or "he's always talking about the Panthers," from their in-house snitches.

The watchdogs began to monitor my calls and mail and saw that I correspond with a lot of liberation movements which they've labeled as "terrorist" groups. Then they began confiscating our mail (things I've received for years) saying it's promoting radical ideas about overthrowing the government which is a "threat to security" and not allowed.

In August 2014, the Security Threat Group inspection committee summoned me to their office inquiring about the Black Panther Party and Maoist material MIM(Prisons) sent me. I explained to them that I'm a facilitator, therefore I have an obligation to be well versed on a multitude of subjects. Because they weren't satisfied with my response, they stripped me of my clothes and examined my tattoos. They falsely labeled me as a "Blood" because of a crown I have on top of the word "King." They knew they needed something to justify any further action they choose to take on me, and by me being labeled as a gang member, that's all they need.

On 3 September 2014, I was placed in the hole under investigation because they confiscated the article I wrote for you all in another Ohio prison. They assumed it was me because of the content, but there were no names written or printed to confirm their allegations. The day they chose to label me falsely, they drew their weapons and aimed to kill mentally and physically, but I will not die a slave, I will live long as a revolutionary.

The watchdogs from Ohio's Department of Rehabilitation Center came to pay me a visit in the hole, hoping to scare me into submission by throwing threats about how they'd send me to another state if I kept "teaching/reading that bullshit" and they also claimed I was on the FBI terrorist watchlist because of my affiliation with "anti-government" groups.

After 2.5 months in the hole they transferred me again, claiming I was a "threat to the order of operations." I've been here almost a month and have already started where I left off and have begun building the movement! There are a lot of street tribes here (Bloods and Crips) but few know they come from the Black Liberation Movements (BLM) or their original goals and purposes. I need to be able to reach these cats on that level so if possible could you send me materials on gang history and their connection to the BLM. When I was in the hole, the watchdogs confiscated all my reading material so I need you to help me recuperate from my losses.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is experiencing the repression that so many prison (and street) organizers face when they start to become effective in educating and organizing the people for revolutionary change. This was the focus of our last issue of Under Lock & Key. As this example demonstrates, the gang validation system is a tool of repression. It often has nothing to do with the gangs they claim are security threats or with preventing crime or violence. This is because they are not allowed to throw you in the hole just for being Black anymore. The liberal left demands that the tools of oppression must evolve for those in power to stay in power under imperialism.

We condemn gang validations and long-term isolation aggressively because they are two of the biggest weapons being used against the imprisoned lumpen. And both of these weapons are contradictory to the principles of this country's founding documents. The government want to fool the public into thinking prisoners are criminals and that is why they are being treated this way. But this repression is directly related to how the state handled the BLM of the 1960s and 70s, and to how they handle oppressed people fighting for basic rights all over the world. It is all about maintaining the imperialist system, where a minority prospers.

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[Gang Validation] [Chillicothe Correctional Institution] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 41]
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False STG Accusations Target Freedom Fighter in Ohio

STG Censorship
Due to another prisoner's actions who I correspond with regularly, I am being accused of ordering a hit on a prisoner "In an effort to further my position and recruiting purposes in security threat group (STG) activity." In fighting my supermax placement, I was able to get them to admit that the letter they are using as evidence was written in code. So they have no way of understanding what is really talked about in this letter. I went to the extreme of giving them some STG codes to show them that no hit was made on anyone's life and that they are making this out to be something that it isn't. This led to me being given another conduct report for possession of STG related material.

Following the advice from an older prisoner, I started using the grievance process to help fight my case instead of going the way of my past and becoming aggressive. This led to more harassment including cell searches in which conduct reports and grievances that I filled came up missing, making it seem as if I am making all this shit up!

I have been threatened with supermax placement since the day I got off this bus. Last year I was given 3 months in segregation over an incident where I was defending myself against another prisoner who attempted to stab me, and he was given less than a month. I was told that this was due to the fact that I had to have done something to provoke this individual! It's crazy. I used to read about other prisoners complaining of this kind of treatment and I'm ashamed to say that I used to doubt them and think that there had to be more to the story until I found myself facing the same set of circumstances.

Though I am a member of the United Blood Nation (UBN), I am not a gang member. To many that is hard to understand, but to explain it quickly, I feel that gang members rep colors and are more focused on ignorance. I am not concerned with the colors a person wears, the organization to which they belong or any of that. I am a freedom fighter. I stand for a cause. I read, study and follow the ideology of the Black liberation movements of the past. I encourage not only my young komrades but people who I associate and deal with to find knowledge of self and to study, build and to better themselves. I am no angel and don't claim to be. I still have a lot of work to do but I'm moving at a righteous pace and setting the tone and paving the way for the masses to follow in a meaningful and constructive manner.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It is interesting that the very method the prison uses for social control, targeting specific prisoners for segregation and other punishments, results in raising the political consciousness of those targeted. Experiencing this repression firsthand leads some who were entrenched in the lumpen mentality of fighting other prisoners to recognize the criminal injustice system is the common enemy.

This is an example of the dialectical relationship between repression and liberation, and is true in all historical eras and oppressive conditions — oppression breeds resistance. Repression of prisoners in the United $tates is one cog in the imperialist machine that condemns people all over the world for the benefit of the oppressor nations. Even though our struggle can seem overwhelming at times, we can have strategic confidence in our inevitable international victory over capitalism and all its devastating consequences. So long as oppressed people are being politicized and educated on the common enemy, from prisons in the United $tates to the mountains in Nepal, we will overcome our common enemy and finally be allowed to eat and sleep in peace. The more the imperialists oppress people, the more people can be drawn in to revolutionary activism.

We hope others will take an example from this comrade and work as freedom fighters to educate and organize others. How quickly and easily we achieve victory depends on how much political work we do today.

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[Control Units] [Warren Correctional Institution] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 40]
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Organizing Against Control Units in Ohio

Resist
I am currently imprisoned in Warren Correctional Institute in Lebanon, Ohio and am Vice President of a prisoner-run organization called Long Term Offenders Organization (LTO) where our main focus is to abolish the "3 tier system" which is Ohio's equivalent to California's Security Housing Unit (SHU) system. We promote abolishment by enforcing programs, workshops, events and activities for prisoners to beat the 3 tier system. We promote unity outside of these walls but even more within these walls. I've noticed a lot of brothers complain about our current circumstances in Ohio such as the 3 tier system (which is obviously a cycle that is supposed to be broken), the food (not enough portions), and correctional officers abusing their authority. By having a platform such as LTO to speak up, I'm promoting prison unity to use the proper procedure through the formal complaints process and not letting the pigs or their system get the best of us. I always tell the brothers it's going to take more than just me alone to make a difference so I need them just as much as they need me.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We add these comrades in Ohio to the country-wide movement to shut down control units. Whatever they are called, this long term isolation is a form of torture, primarily targetting politically active and oppressed nation prisoners. We also encourage LTO, and any other prisoner organizations out there, to consider joining the United Front for Peace in Prisons, and work to build unity on an even broader scale. As the second organizing principle of this United Front states: "We strive to unite with those facing the same struggles as us for our common interests. To maintain unity we have to keep an open line of networking and communication, and ensure we address any situation with true facts. This is needed because of how the pigs utilize tactics such as rumors, snitches and fake communications to divide and keep division among the oppressed. The pigs see the end of their control within our unity."

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[United Front] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 38]
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United Front Organizing: Working Towards LO Peace in Ohio

Lately, due to the continuing of the repressive injustice system, the New Afrikan Maoist Brotherhood (NAMB) has restructured our organizing and networking tactics. We continue our current study group raising New Afrikan and internationalist consciousness. We are working on a peace treaty/alliance between the Vice Lords, Latin Kings, MS-13, Bloods and Black P. Stones. The Euro-Amerikan street organizations of the Cincinnatti Caucasian Cartel and the Cincinnati White Boys have allied against the Aryan Brothers and so, we are working to bring the Triple Cs and the CWBs into the Ohio-wide treaty with the Vice Lords and Latin Kings/MS-13 and Bloods. Our next focus will be to reach out to the "heartless felons" of Northern Ohio (Cleveland based) to radicalize them into revolutionary consciousness. These are uphill battles due to lack of quality leadership, coupled with the terrain of lockdown blocks, controlled movements, and confidential informants. But, the movement must be pushed, no matter how fast/slow, hard/easy it may seem. History is on our side! The NAMB is slowly but surely making headway in spreading unity and revolutionary theory. We look forward to creating an Ohio-wide, Ohio-produced treaty between all LOs inside of prison and outside.


MIM(Prisons) adds: These comrades in Ohio are doing the essential work of education and building peace and unity. Bringing lumpen organizations together into a United Front (UF) is critical, but we must always be clear what we are uniting around. The UF is a vehicle for the oppressed to unite groups against a common and principal enemy. We learn from history that this includes alliances between the proletariat and the national bourgeoisie when the fight is against the imperialist invading army. In Amerikan prisons today, this unity is among lumpen organizations against the criminal injustice system which is used by imperialist Amerika as a tool of social control.

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[United Front] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 38]
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Goodfellas Build UFPP, Promote Multinational Organizing

My fellow comrades and I follow the 5 principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons, however it is a nonstop struggle to open the eyes of the people here. That was the reason I started the lumpen organization (LO) that I am a part of now. I am being held in Supermax for direct action that I took to stand up to the swine for manhandling my comrade.

I am a comrade who happens to be white, and I started the LO to have multiple races in it. I am looked upon as a different breed because there are no LOs doing that. I base the foundation off of revolutionary communist principles. After studying Marx, Mao, even the Panthers, Huey, G. Jackson and the G. Jackson brigade (most of whom happened to be white), I took the oath to live by as well as die by this. I will hold my fist up till the very end. In fact I intend to die for the cause whenever that day may be, but I try my best to lead by my actions.

Yes I am hated by many. The swine truly hate me, I mean deeply. In fact, I have been told by the top brass, or white shirts as we call them, that they will kill me. They have beat me a few times while I was handcuffed and maced; most of this was at the slave camp in Lucasville. It's a free-for-all on prisoners there. The pigs harrass us for fun and indeed they get rewarded and get promotions. There have been so many coverups there, including the murders of many prisoners.

The LO I started is Greatness Over Other Desires Fellas Equals Love Loyalty And Solidarity. We are called GF or Goodfellas for short. They are now trying to kill the LO. I was the one who was giving the info and teaching them, and now they got me locked in Supermax. My main aim was and is to bring the indepth race issue to the forefront. It's a major issue here in Ohio prisons, as I'm sure in all prisons.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The United Front for Peace in Prison principles this comrade mentions are Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism and Independence. They are printed on page 2 of every issue of ULK. Below are some basic steps all groups can follow to get involved in this United Front.

  1. Study and uphold the five principles of the united front.

  2. Send your organization's name and a statement of unity to MIM(Prisons). Your statement can explain what the united front principles mean to your organization, how they relate to your work, why they are important, etc.

  3. Develop peace and unity between factions where you are at on the basis of opposing oppression of all prisoners and oppressed people in general.

  4. Send reports on your progress to Under Lock & Key. Did you develop a peace treaty or protocol that is working? Send it in for others to study and possibly use. Is your unity based on actions? Send us reports on the organizing you are doing.

  5. Keep educating your members. The more educated your members are, the more unity you can develop, and the stronger your organization can become. Unity comes from the inside out. By uniting internally, we can better unite with others as well. Contact MIM(Prisons)'s Free Political Books for Prisoners Program if you need additional materials to educate your members in history, politics and economics.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Ohio State Penitentiary] [Ohio]
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Ohio State Penitentiary Conditions Decline

Here at the Ohio State Penitentiary our food service department was privatized about five months ago and taken over by a company called Amark. Since then we've had a steady decline in both the portions and quality of our food. It's to the point now that we're getting severely undercooked turkey bacon (2 slices) at breakfast and meat at other meals is mostly fat and sometimes contains tiny bit of bone. It's the kind of meat you wouldn't serve a dog.

Also, the pigs recently changed policies concerning the long term storage of our property that we may not be allowed at our current security or privilege levels but can have once our levels are lowered. The pigs are trying to force guys into authorizing them to either destroy or send home their property. For the most part guys are refusing to authorize or sign anything and threatening to sue if the pigs destroy their property anyway. Although as always some guys allowed themselves to be intimidated by the pigs. It remains to be seen what the pigs will eventually end up doing but this comrade will keep you posted.


MIM(Prisons) responds: When we see conditions change in a way that inspires others to protest individually, this is a good opportunity to insert some political education into the discussion, and use the situation to build unity against the criminal injustice system. These actions, taken against the whole group, underscore prisoners' basis for unity in fighting for their basic rights. There has been a lot of recent organizing and protests in Ohio, including a hunger strike at Ohio State Penitentiary last year. Political awareness is growing, and it's up to those who understand the big picture of imperialism and our fight against it to take up leadership roles in educating and organizing others.

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[Medical Care] [Ohio State Penitentiary] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 36]
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Ohio Prisoners Take Up Legal Fight Over Medical Neglect

Though it is very difficult to rally my fellow prisoners here at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) to support any cause, I am happy to say that a small group of revolutionary minded brothers here have come together to fight against OSP's medical department with the assistance of the Ohio branch of the ACLU. I know that comrades in other states, such as California, Nevada and Texas have it much worse than us here in Ohio. But having been the victim of this state's deliberate indifference, I know how it feels to be denied the medical care that is my right as a human being and I am outraged not only for myself but also for all of my incarcerated, abused and oppressed brothers. A victory in this fight is a step on the road to revolution for us all and I hold out the highest of hopes for these comrades and their struggle.

I truly wish there was more good news for me to report from my cage in OSP but sadly, here as in most prisons, good news is hard to come by. Please add my name to the Under Lock & Key mailing list and let me know of any way I can help to support your organization. Also, at this point, I am starved for literature so if you have or are aware of any programs that can help me to get books and literature please let me know.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We appreciate people sending us reports like this about battles, both small and large, taking place across the country. We see the value of connecting struggles across states and learning from the successes and failures of people in other prisons. Under Lock & Key reports on these types of battles, but we go even further and offer political analysis and education around these struggles. We are not satisfied with simply fighting for small improvements in medical care or mail policies. Such improvements alleviate the suffering and improve the ability of our comrades behind bars to engage in political organizing, but they should also be part of our broader work to educate and build a strong and committed political center that understands the need to take on the imperialist system as a whole in order to dismantle the criminal injustice system.

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