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.

[Organizing] [Control Units] [Ohio State Penitentiary] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 33]
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May Day Strike in Ohio Gained Small Reforms

Greetings to all revolutionary comrades who are captives in the gulags of these United $nakes of Amurderer. In light of the many struggles that have come to the forefront in these past few years I was dismayed at the lack of attention May Day received this year.

Inside the gulag called Ohio State Penitentiary, 30 days prior to May Day 2012 [this was originally published as 2013 - editor] several captives began planning what was hoped to become a massive hunger strike. This was to take place in C-Block where captives considered to be the most violent in the state are held.

The plan was to begin the strike on May 1 to coincide with the general May Day strikes taking place all over the world.

There were about 30 who had decided to go for the long run, but because some paperwork detailing some of our demands and our prospected start date was confiscated haphazardly by an escort pig, we decided on a whim to start a day early. This took the pig-overseers by surprise as some had taken that Monday off work anticipating confronting us at the onset of our demonstration.

So our core began a day early and we were joined by the rest on May Day, giving us a total of about 60 out of 140. By day 6 we were beginning to lose numbers but our point had been made: solidarity and organization can happen inside 23-hour lockdown, even on short notice.

Several pieces were run in the local newspapers. We had the attention of the bourgeoisie who responded negatively to a captive's article on how austerity has caused smaller food portions.

Our main demand was for the ending of the hopelessness of an indefinite classification to level 5-A & 5-B, better known as supermax, of "3 years or more." For so-called lesser offenses, one can receive this same classification for a period of "less than 3 years."

As we began to lose participants Warden D. Bobby decided to address the demands by adding good behavior incentives: extra phone calls, photos every three months, extra visit per month, etc. Basically they were saying that it is our negative behavior that keeps us here. They also began showing 3 new-release movies per week as well as offering lots more mental health and drug abuse programs.

As California has learned, not much changes without massive efforts and solidarity. This attests to our need for further acts of solidarity and organization for struggle, and the development of leadership backed by science to bring about a movement for change.

Thursday, May 23 at 11pm, 20 or so captives began flooding the ranges as backlash to the enforcement of an old rule stating "no loan, borrow, or trading" amongst captives. We remain on lockdown 23/7 while there is one person allowed out of our cell at a time for recreation. In an attempt to stop the passing and sharing of coffee, literature and photos, this captive's rec is terminated if caught passing. Because rec is a so-called guarantee, and it's our only out-of-cell time besides a shower, many rallied to address this. Some even swore to battle the captors if need be to prove their unwillingness to stop passing or give up rec.

A meeting with D. Bobby led to a promise to back off the rule and also give a few more behavioral incentives, and add a few more TV stations; pacification, no real change, and proof for the need of protests on May Day and beyond.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The persecution of prisoners who share literature and coffee is akin to the recent persecution of prisoners for participating in group exercise in California. These policies oppose peace and unity among the prison population. The criminalizing of the passing of literature also helps keep prisoners ignorant and supresses their ability to gain outside support. So we stand in solidarity with these comrades' struggle to oppose such repression. For our take on May Day in North America see our article "Big Fat Elephant in the May Day Dialogue," where we expose the double standard applied by those in the left-wing of white nationalism to workers in the First World compared to those in the Third World.

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[Organizing] [Ohio State Penitentiary] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 27]
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Ohio State Penitentiary Hunger Strike Ends

ohio state penitentiary
Ohio State Penitentiary
9 May 2012, Youngstown, Ohio - Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) hunger strike ends. After long negotiations with Warden David Bobby on 7 May, the hunger striking prisoners at OSP began eating again. Two of the men held out through the eighth, unsatisfied with the agreement. The warden met with them separately and they agreed to come off the strike. Warden Bobby reported that "by lunch time today, everyone was eating." This was confirmed by two prisoner sources.

At this point details of the agreement are unclear, but sources say that the hunger strikers are satisfied and feel they achieved results. One source described the demands and the warden's response as "reasonable." Without going into detail, the main concerns were in regards to commissary cost, state pay rates, phone cost, length of stay, and harsh penalties for petty conduct reports. The warden said that he discussed "many issues" at the meeting with strike representatives, "many things beyond the main demands," but he would not share any of the details.

The strikers are resting and recovering, but have mailed detailed information to outside supporters at Redbird Prison Abolition, which will be released to the public as soon as possible. The warden admitted that one of the hunger strikers was transferred to disciplinary segregation for unrelated rule infractions, but stated that there were no reprisals or punishments for participating. One prisoner source agrees with this statement.

The hunger strike began on April 30 and was timed to align with May Day protests outside.


MIM(prisons) adds: This hunger strike demanded many reforms related to conditions in the prison. As with hunger strikes from California to Palestine, the prison administration made promises to get the prisoners to end the strike. At least one prisoner resumed the hunger strike on June 4 after the warden failed to follow through on his promises.(1)

Hunger strikes are becoming an increasingly popular tactic in the struggle against the criminal injustice system. Prisoners are forced into a position where there is very little they can do to fight for their rights. The legal system refuses to respond, grievances are ignored or destroyed, and on the streets there is more support for "getting tough on crime" than for prisoners' rights. And so prisoners feel their only choice is to put their lives in danger by refusing to eat.

MIM(Prisons) supports outbreaks of organizing and struggle against the criminal injustice system, and we urge prisoner activists to take seriously the need for study and organization before taking action. Not everyone will be a communist, but we can all advance our theory and practice through study and discussion. And we need good organizing theory to make the best use of unity and actions.

A good place to start is the United Front for Peace Statement of Principles. Struggle with us if you disagree with any of them, and if you agree, come together with prisoners across the country to build our unity and struggle.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Ohio]
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Our Darkest Hour

From our birth they installed limitations on what we may acquire and achieve,
Diluting our minds and aspirations, making it virtually impossible to succeed.
See 28% of men are dead or imprisoned by age 21
Yet they say there's equal opportunities for everyone.
20% of the 28% are from neighborhoods like yours and mine
But these #'s don't seem to equate in my mind.
The urban culture is being oppressed by a politically corrupt society simply and utterly
Because they're afraid of what we may become if given true equality.
So I implore you do not succumb to temptation,
Stand up and speak out for what you believe in,
let liberty and prosperity be your motivation,
because it's beyond our time to achieve it.
I drop these simple words of inspiration cause knowledge is power,
As for the urban culture and my entire generation, this is Our Darkest Hour

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[Organizing] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 7]
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USW Leads Organizing for Real Peace

United Struggle from Within is potentially the most potent prisoner’s organization. USW is intended to take the vanguard position in the overall prison liberation movement, by tackling the multiple battles which we face as prisoners in this injustice system. Such battles are, but not limited to: instituting the national minimum wage to prisoners, fighting censorship, fighting the isolation cell-blocks which are a form of psychological warfare, doing away with the capitalist “death penalty,” promoting peace between street-organizations and guiding these sisters and brothers to a more purposeful meaning of existence (operation), obtaining proper educational programs and courses to enable the prisoner to make a successful re-entry back into society.

Many more can be stated, as our USW movement has a lot of work to tend to. Which ultimately comes to the doing away with the capitalist-imperialist injustice system – without the causes of crime and recidivism what’s the use of having this major system of confinement?

Yes, the program of USW is intended to impact the individual’s life and community to the point we decrease the drug/alcohol use and abuse, recidivism, violent crime and youth crime. The penal system hasn’t tackled these problems of the people, so the people must tend to these issues. I must admit, I am grateful to be a part of such a movement and organization.

As I take up the struggle in Ohio and in forming a committee of the USW (where we will study socialism, organizational tactics, law, and past socialist movements in history), I have been met with many obstacles ranging from prison officials to even comrades of our struggle. One of the main obstacles that weighs heavy on my mind and heart is the barriers we have amongst us (prisoners, proletariat at large….). I’m trying to penetrate the walls of ignorance that pervade the prison system and the community.

This police state (Amerikkka) has given birth to a criminal culture/prison culture. USW must battle for the minds of potential revolutionaries. Our battle also goes against gangsterism, gang-banging, race-hate, and illiteracy. Bringing together opposite street organizations and race/culture oriented groups to the round table in a common striving for self-determination, liberation, and protection is a feat we USW comrades are instructed to accomplish. Bringing peace and a mutual understanding through organizational cooperation and aid is a prioritized objective of USW.

We all face the same problems coming from disenfranchised and socioeconomic oppressed communities, enduring the turmoil of being snatched away from our families and thrown into cages, stripped of our dignity and denied the adequate opportunity to reconstruct our lives in a proper way with education and assistance. Hence, we must educate ourselves. We must organize ourselves in cells/collectives that go beyond the prison fence and wires by establishing ourselves in the communities we come from and work together for the common good of each member. Our common goal is to get back to society. The system won’t provide us with the essentials to ensure our success so we must provide it ourselves. But, our course of action should be in a peaceful mode. And, as we engage and advance we must recognize and respect those who strive in the same way.

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[Theory] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 6]
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Gender Privilege under Capitalism

Gender relations in Amerika are based on the ill effects of the capitalist state. It's a fact (that goes unheard) that the capitalist-materialist drive gives birth to "force", "low morale" and in turn, the "demoralization of life." On a large level, of that of a nation-state, the materialization of the "birth effects" of capitalism is militarism, imperialism, colonialism, oppression, and gender inequality. Plainly put, when one nation-state "rapes" another less developed nation for its labor and natural resources, going unabated by both inside and outside influence, this same train of thought and action is transferred to each individual of the oppressor nation, who not only thinks and acts in an oppressive manner, but fabricates their own level of morality.

This is seen in three "justifiable reasons" to exploit, oppress, and repress "minorities" or any other "weaker class of people". The gender relations aspect in the capitalist system has downgraded the female gender into a commodity. There is an "open market" as well as a more "hidden market" for the female to sell her body. Examples of the open are pornography, institutions of prostitution and the whole media at large. Examples of the hidden are such as when women vie with one another for "the right catch" (a man for marriage) - in which she attempts to sell herself for a higher price than other women, which may be from the inequality of opportunities for women in the work-force versus men in Amerika or other nations. Even in homosexuality - it's "allowed" on television and other media outlets, but, by law, as we witness today, it is not allowed as lawful unions.

As we see, everything and everyone is lowered to a monetary value, negated their freedom of expression and subordinated to the dictates of the ruling capitalist class. For the proletariat we must never take on the perspectives of the oppressor capitalist class. When issues arise, we must research, investigate, and question to come to a conclusion most fit to our class. Hence, MIM sets down the most productive line of thought/action for the oppressed nations and class, viz. the international proletariat.

-Ohio USW comrade

MIM(Prisons) responds: There is a lot of good analysis in this article but we make a point to distinguish class, nation and gender oppression while this comrade puts them all together as if they were interchangeable. There are, no doubt, many aspects of gender oppression that are very tightly intertwined with class and nation. But gender oppression is not just the result of commoditization from capitalism. There are aspects of gender oppression that could continue to exist even after the elimination of class and national oppression if they are not tackled head-on. For instance, much of gender privilege and oppression falls into leisure time activities. It is not just monetary value that determines the oppression of wimmin.

On the flip side, when we talk about how intertwined class, nation and gender are, we would go further than this comrade does in his/her discussion of First World wimmin, to point out that an analysis of gender is incomplete without mention of the relative privilege of First World biological wimmin and men compared to Third World wimmin and men. This is not to say men and wimmin in the First World are equal, but class and nation have so impacted gender oppression as to benefit First World wimmin with gender privilege relative to the rest of the world.

Check out MIM Theory 2/3 on Gender for a more in depth analysis of these issues.

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[Organizing] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 6]
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Organizing a strike in Ohio

I'm an incarcerated comrade in the Maximum Security Prison of Ohio. Currently I'm in a specialized isolation unit on 23 hour lockdown called "4B". At the present moment our cell block is on a hunger strike/activities strike where we have pulled our collective minds and initiative to express our dissatisfaction at the treatment that has been administered by the prison officer of 2nd shift (2pm to 10pm).

Now, this was not organized by me, nor was I involved in the nucleus of organizing and planning this act. But, being bound by my imprisonment, I, as well as every other prisoner on this cell block, are obligated to come together and stand up against the oppressive actions administered by this reactionary, police-system in all its many forms.

What we are striking about is that the second shift officer has repeatedly neglected his duties by not picking up our outgoing mail; he has repeatedly passed mail to the wrong cell/prisoner; he has repeatedly denied to pass out kites, write-ups/informals and other institutional forms of communication (being we're on isolated blocks, these are our only means of communications). This same CO has not taken the meal list for days at a time: since I'm Muslim, I do not eat prison meat, along with other dietary preferences, we have missed meals without a choice in the matter, and this has spurred even more outrage.

This same C/O (officer) has attempted to spark a "race" conflict between the Blacks and whites by saying racial statements and joking trying to cause division. (This prison is far from an urban area where many prison staff are not accustomed to diverse cultures and skin tones. Here, the white supremacist prison gang, the Aryan Brotherhood, is backed by the prison staff.) For the last few days, prisoners on this cell block have put in work; but, these activities are not new to this prison nor to prison in general.

In trying to speak to higher prison officials to unveil our discontent of the actions administered by this officer (which, in reality, is only a representation of the nature of the prison-system, and in turn, the Amerikan system), this battle of ours will not cease, Blacks and whites shall continue to uphold the struggle in the face of the slobbing Pig. Thus far no one has backed down, even in the midst of opposition - which is coming in many forms. For example, a C/O sprayed mace in the ceiling vents which are connected to all the cells on this block. His excuse was that it "came from another cell block."

All in all, my intentions for writing this was to point out the fact that this system of oppression does not comprehend anything less than revolutionary united struggle. They only understand aggression and asserted action (viz the organized power of the proletariat) so long as we do not realize our power through concerted effort the oppressors will continue to win! We must play the game they play! Think about that!

- Ohio USW leader

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[Control Units] [Ohio]
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Info on control units in Ohio

I’m in a controlled unit that’s called 4B. It’s a special unit of the Maximum Security Prison of Ohio (max security level is rated 4 while 4B is a secluded section of the same prison). This is also where they administer the death penalty. People are sent to 4B for assaults, drugs, fights, etc. I came from a close security prison #3). One must do 6 months, 1 year or 18 months here on 23 hour lock down before going to general population, depending on your case. General population is called 4A here, at the same prison.

There are 6 cell blocks of 4B, 9 cell-blocks of 4A, 1 cell block of “the hole” (segregation) for 4A, 2 cell blocks for “protective custody” and one for Security Threat Groups” (gangs). On the 6 cell blocks of 4B you have 80 prisoners in each. The cells have bars and some brothers conduct themselves like animals (cursing, yelling, throwing urine and waste, etc.). Televisions are hung on the walls outside of the cells. Racially it’s probably 60% Black, 30% white, 10% other. This first opened after the riots went down here in 1993 (the Lucasville Riots). Going to recreation we have to chain up on ankles, arms behind backs and placed on a collective chain.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Ohio]
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People Power

People power is derived directly from and through the unification
of those in dire need, tired of false promises, so they take it upon themselves for its manifestation

United Struggle from Within is a par excellent example
so long as we comrades strive hard and fight on, our work will be ample

People power is a scientific revolutionary term
In that it speaks to the masses to apply and earn

Earn what's rightfully theirs, such as justice, freedom, liberation and equality
For when we outline our objectives, we do not say it modesty

Striking at the core cause of the problems
takes a deep look at capitalism before we can solve them

The socialist theory, better yet, the pathway to communism
Is the road, for the people, to stomp out oppression and imperialism

People Power is obtainable, visualize and please believe
For without people power we shall never achieve

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[Control Units] [Southern Ohio Correctional Facility] [Ohio]
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New Ohio Harassment Policy

Here at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, our tormentors have started a new policy where prisoners in control units have to be handcuffed and shackled just to walk back and forth to the shower. When we complained the administration responds by claiming that this is for our own safety and the safety of the officers. But the officers are the number one threat to prisoners' safety. Handcuffing and shackling us puts us in a more precarious position. Plus, it seems, that if they were truly worried about the officers' safety, the would have left the old policy in place where the officers could simply open our cell doors from the safety control booth then lock us in the shower from the same position. But instead they now have to escort... And in an attempt to cut back on spending (at least on the prisoners), those of us who are in control units are not longer being issued clothing. So no matter what you have, irregardless of how raggedy, you best be luck that you got it. And this same thing goes for all supplies. Sometimes it is the little things that mean so much. And in the control units here you better value something as little as toilet paper like its gold, because you'll only get one a week if that. It's not like the prison officials don't realize that we have to use this toilet paper as paper towels, napkins kleenex and toilet paper. They would just rather see us go without then give us an 'extra' roll.

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