Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Oklahoma Prisons

Expand ULK. Send us $50 concealed cash with an address and we'll send you a stack of each issue for the next year. help out

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.

[Gender] [Cimarron Correctional Facility] [Oklahoma] [ULK Issue 61]
expand

Sexual Harassment in Oklahoma

Summertime mid-July 2017 — Oklahoma's worst prison in the country Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, Oklahoma. I got the chance to be moved off a security threat group unit (STG) where four gang members was killed in one single day all stabbed to death on one unit in one single incident in 2015. I got to move to the honor dorm where you are required to have a job either on the unit or on the yard, somewhere like the kitchen, laundry, or the library. All of the jobs was said to be full, but this facility had just lost its contract for its maximum security units. Most of the max inmates was moved to other max facilities and some put back in population on this facility, and after the max was empty it needed painting. I was chosen to help, I had experience in painting.

To move unit to unit you are subject to be pat-searched or strip-searched. These searches are routine by any officer, and are documented supposedly. On arriving to the entrance of the units that was to be painted my group of about 8 prisoners was stopped and told to line up for a strip-search. We formed a line and went one by one in a tiny bathroom where one officer had I thought one of the worst jobs that day seeing other men's nuts and butts, but I guess I was wrong.

When it was my turn I was already reluctant because a few of the guys came out the bathroom complaining about how weird it was. I get in the bathroom everybody knows the routine, take off all your clothes hand them to the officer he hand searches them and puts them to the side or holds them in his hands. You are to lift your nuts, turn around bend over squat and cough at the same time. I did all of those things but the officer had this lustful look on his face. He told me to let him see my dick again he then bends at the waist where he is very close to my piece and told me to pull back on it. I was beyond horrified.

You know how your back goes straight when you're either scared or mad? I asked him what type of shit he was on and told him I don't get down with that shit give me my fuckin clothes back. He smiled and handed me back my clothes. I dressed so fast I forgot to put on a sock.

The following day I thought surely the same officer would not be doing searches. WRONG. He was waiting on us by the bathroom with one hand on the wall the other hand on his hip tappin his foot. Once again when it was my turn I was somewhat scared and regretful for going back. Scared because I can act out of control sometimes, but I was somewhat confused and caught off guard. When I entered the bathroom I told the officer I'm not strippin out he could send me back if I have to. He said OK put your hands on the wall and starts a pat-down search he gets to my dick and grabs it and holds it and ask what it was. I yank away and tell him my dick weirdo let me out of here and push past him.

I was embarrassed and afraid to tell anyone at the time but when I did, what I thought was going to happen did. He denied it, the facility heads believed him and not me the prisoner and to this day I'm being retaliated against, threatened and punished by this facility's staff.


MIM(Prisons) responds: As this writer knows, it can be embarrassing, upsetting, and terrifying to come forward and talk about sexual harassment and assault. And it's an added challenge when it's not the gender norm that we're comfortable with, like when male guards molest male prisoners. This comrade is exposing something that goes on regularly behind bars. And the idea that reporting to the prison this, or any other type of abuse, will help the individual's situation is largely a myth. Congress even passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act to supposedly address this problem. But even that is just resulting in retaliation for many. Gender oppression and sexual assault of male prisoners is a big problem that is all too often ignored. It doesn't matter if the harasser is male or female, it's an abuse of power.

chain
[Campaigns] [Oklahoma] [ULK Issue 26]
expand

Oklahoma's Failed Grievance System Challenged in Court

Recently there was a victory for Oklahoma's prisoner population, with respect to the difficulty of having grievances heard and adequately addressed. On February 29 2012, a magistrate judge held that Director Justin Jones "wrongfully established, maintained and enforced the grievance policy and authorized punishment for inmates who show disrespect to staff." The magistrate further held that Director Justin Jones had: "failed to establish an available administrative remedy on the claim involving the policy on grievance restrictions and disregarded the claim against Mr. Jones for the disciplinary policy involving disrespect to staff."

On February 2 2011, the Plaintiff in this case filed a grievance challenging his placement on a grievance restriction. Five days later, the grievance coordinator returned the grievance and checked the box for "Not an issue grievable to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (Private Prisons property, misconduct, see OP-090124, Section 11.B.1.), litigation pending, not within/under."

In response to a complaint made by the Plaintiff, Director Jones argued that the he had "failed to exhaust his administrative remedies." Director Jones's argument consisted of the following sentence: "Here the prison's administrative records demonstrate that Plaintiff has not filed any grievance/grievance appeal regarding his being placed on 'Grievance Restriction.'"

Director Jones relied on an affidavit by Debbie Morton, which stated that the Plaintiff had not appealed the February 7 grievance decision to her office. Presumably, the Plaintiff did not appeal the decision because the grievance coordinator has told him that the complaint was not grievable.(1) Even at the time of the magistrate's report and recommendation, Director Jones still did not submit any evidence to suggest that the complaint would have been grievable.

"The plain language of the [Prison Litigation Reform Act] requires that prisoners exhaust only available remedies." Tuckel v. Grover, 660 F. 3d 1249, 1252 (10th Cir. 2011) (quoting 42 U.S.C. 1997e(a)). The Oklahoma Department of Corrections's (ODOC's) special report includes excerpts from the grievance policy, but those portions do not identify the matters that are grievable. The magistrate held "thus, Mr. Jones has failed to satisfy his burden of demonstrating an available administrative remedy to contest imposition of a grievance restriction or punishment for disrespect to staff."

In his conclusion, the magistrate stated as follows: "When the Defendant's evidence is reviewed favorably to [the Plaintiff] as required, one can reasonably infer that there was no available administrative remedy to contest his placement on a grievance restriction or the punishment for disrespect to staff. As a result, the court should reject Mr. Jones' argument for dismissal or summary judgement on the basis of exhaustion."

As stated and shown above, my fellow comrades in Oklahoma prisons have no available administrative remedy to contest a grievance restriction or punishment for "disrespect to staff," due to an erroneous establishment of a grievance policy or disciplinary policy. The above outlined lawsuit was filed on March 17 2011 against the Directory of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. If comrades in Oklahoma have been placed on grievance restriction, follow the policy while on that restriction and see to it that the oppressor is dealt with justly.

Further, if comrades are housed at private prisons, know that the ODOC and private companies are in cahoots with each other in an effort to deny you a Constitutional right permitting you to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


Note:
Lyon v. Krol, 305 F. 3d 806, 810 (8th Cir. 2002) (en ban); Bright, J. dissenting) (stating that dismissal for nonexhaustion would have been unwarranted because prison officials may have "creat[ed] the impression that [the prisoner's] claims were not grievable through the [prison] grievance system").

chain
[United Front] [Cimarron Correctional Facility] [Oklahoma]
expand

MPMM signs on to United Front for Peace

This is AR-15 of USW. My new LO's name is Magnanimous Peace Manifesto Movement. As a lumpen organization, we are devoted in uniting together for world socialism and peace in prisons and the world beyond these walls and gates. We agree to uphold the statement of principles set forth by MIM(Prisons) and our fellow comrades in this United Front for Peace in Prisons.

As the founder of this organization, I began by addressing the needs that needed to be addressed in the control unit known as the "Intensive Supervision Unit" (ISU) here at the Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, Oklahoma. I spoke to the contract monitor from the Oklahoma DOC and our unit team about what needs to be done in order for prisoners to succeed in our struggle for betterment.

One of the main issues was education amongst rehabilitative programs. A treaty was developed and the oppressor is going to provide the following:
1. Education for those prisoners who have educational needs
2. ESL for our Latino Nations; and
3. Rehabilitative programs, e.g. thinking for a change

This treaty has been placed into action as of 20 May 2011. To this end, revolution is on the rise!

The Magnanimous Peace Manifesto Movement was formed to promote better growth and development amongst our comrades. Though educational work is a part of our mission, we represent peace, unity, and growth. We believe that there can be no achievement without sacrifice, and a man's worldly success will be in the measure that he sacrifices his confused-animal thoughts and fixes his mind on the development of his plans, and the strengthening of his resolution and self-reliance. He who would accomplish l title must sacrifice little, he who would achieve much must sacrifice much, and he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly. MPMM is focused on reforms within all U.$. prisons because we've all (Lumpen Organizations) come together as a collective whole in a United Front for Peace.

We uphold the Statement of Principles established by MIM(Prisons) and other Lumpen Organizations in the United Front for Peace.

chain
[Prison Labor] [Oklahoma]
expand

Prisoners Paid Nothing for Work in Oklahoma

I am writing about slavery in the prison system operated by Oklahoma Department of Corruptions. Prisoners are classified by security levels 1-4. Unless medically restricted, all prisoners must work. Jobs range from air conditioned settings to outside jobs in freezing winter temperatures or 100 degree temperatures in summer.

Gang pay ranges from $14 on level 4 to zero on level 1. Level 1 prisoners work just as hard as other levels, yet work for nothing. Prisoners get write-ups if fired from a job or if they refuse to work. Among other things, sanctions can include a $5 fine. For getting fired or a write-up, your level gets dropped. Thus, level 1 prisoners get no gang pay and get fired. Your fine is confiscated from any money your cash-strapped family sends you.

The cycle is vicious. The slave wages of nothing show just one of the inequalities of Oklahoma's prisons.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrade that the conditions of labor in Oklahoma prisons are unacceptable, but we would not call this system of prisoner labor "slavery." As we explained in our article on the prison economy prison labor does not produce a profit for the prisons, rather it is used to offset some (but not all) of the costs of imprisonment. Prisons are primarily used as a tool of social control, with the prisoner labor only a minor aspect of this. The term slavery refers to the system that captures humyn labor for the purpose of exploiting and profiting from it. This is not the case with the Amerikan prison system today. It is important to understand the real motivations of the oppressor if we hope to change this oppressive system.

chain
[Download and Print] [Abuse] [Civil Liberties] [United Struggle from Within] [Censorship] [Campaigns] [Oklahoma]
expand

Downloadable Grievance Petition, Oklahoma

Oklahoma Grievance Petition
Click to Download PDF
of Oklahoma Petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones inside who are experiencing issues with the grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

Warden
(specific to your facility)

Oklahoma State Jail Inspector, Don Garrison
1000 N.E. 10th St.,
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73117-1299

ODOC Office of Internal Affairs
Oklahoma City Office
3400 Martin Luther King Avenue
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73111-4298

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
P.O. Box 9778
Arlington, Virginia 22219

United States Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, PHB
Washington, D.C. 20530

Oklahoma Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants
(OK-CURE)
P.O. Box 9741
Tulsa, OK 74157-0741

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

*Petition updated July 2012, October 2017*

chain
[Organizing] [Oklahoma] [ULK Issue 14]
expand

The situational ethics of snitching

An issue that was addressed in ULK that deserves a bit more comment is the involvement or non-involvement of so-called "snitches" or Special Needs Yard (SNY) prisoners in any political movement and/or prison reform activities.

The philosophy of the snitch is contradictory. I've been in prison for over 16 years. I have done time in three states and I have seen the hundreds of ways people have been labeled "snitches." For example, here in Oklahoma a prisoner is labeled a "snitch" if he files a grievance, even on obstruction of mail. It's seen as "snitching on staff." Prison administrators will utilize that to try and get other prisoners to ostracize a person and/or otherwise abuse, distrust or spread rumors about a person.

This is especially true when it comes to prison officials who harm or abuse prisoners. If you report the abuse, you're labeled a "snitch." Of course, when the shoe is on the other foot and a guard is harmed they run to the "snitches" for information. It's contradictory and it is also what is called "situational ethics."

Situational ethics is when a person uses a particular situation and action to justify their immediate needs, be they financial, safety, etc. If they do not like a person, for example, they'll label him a "snitch." But if they have a friend who has done the same deed they will justify his actions. It is purely situational.

The psychology of it all is baffling. But in the political sphere it has no place. As a prisoner in ULK no. 13 noted, violence on SNY is much, much less, and there is more unity on SNY. I can't attest to that myself because I've never been on a SNY, however, I do believe it to be true. I've heard that same story over and over about so-called "soft yards."

Information gathering is a valuable tactic in the political sphere as well. This is true whether it is the oppressed or oppressor. Information can be used to protect or harm. How you utilize your sources can be beneficial. If you know someone is a "snitch" or you have reasonable suspicions, then feeding that person false or beneficial information can help you and others. For example, if you know someone will run to the cops and report you then the information you tell them should only benefit, not harm you. They become an unwitting agent of good.

Lastly, prison reform will never come if you constantly look to others to motivate you. Just do what you have to do, and when you come across like-minded people - or even people who may not support your beliefs but support your efforts - you can add them to your album of associates.

MIM(Prisons) responds: What this comrade calls "situation ethics" we would also call "subjectivity." Like s/he said, subjectivity has no place in politics. We need to have a set of ethics that serve the most oppressed people in the world. We cannot let our criticism be swayed by whether we're cool with whoever did the action. This is true in all actions, not just sharing info with the pigs.

On the group or political level we define our ethics by our class perspective. It makes sense for the COs to both persecute snitches and utilize snitches depending on who they are snitching on, as this writer describes. Similarly, we want COs to expose other COs for abusing prisoners. In general, opposing snitching is progressive, because it is a source of conflict and repression as people are opportunistically spreading information to benefit themselves in the short-term. But to take an absolute moral stance on snitching ignores the fact that we need to expose the oppressor to the people.

The only point we disagree with this comrade on is that they say we should only control the information we share with known snitches or people we suspect to be snitches. We would push this one degree further and say that we should only share information on a need-to-know basis, and assume everyone is a possible informant. We went much more in depth on this topic in ULK 13.

This article referenced in:
chain
[National Oppression] [Oklahoma]
expand

Vietnamese Struggles Against INS, Prisons, Persecution for Being

I am a Vietnamese immigrant. I’ve been living in Amerikkka since 1985. I came to this country when I was a kid. My father passed away so I grew up in a foster home. My life is not colorful, I had my ups and downs. This is the second time that I’ve been locked up. My life is changing as I grow older.

Upon discharging my first sentence, I was picked up by INS. A court date was set, I was ordered deported by a federal judge. While waiting for a travel visa I was sent to different county jails. I met people who were waiting for 5 or 10 years just to be deported. Some people can’t go back to their birth home due to persecution, and yet they can not be released because they committed crime in Amerika. All of us have to pay our debts to society.

After a few years I was released back to society with various conditions. I have to check in monthly, to pay for a work visa yearly, pay taxes, and go back to my birth home once they have a visa ready for me. I have children who were born here.

I worked and had a job. Some of the work I did was harsh, only so-called illegals and non-citizens work at such places. Jobs that are not done by Americans, yet they sit and cry about us "illegal" and non-citizens taking up jobs.

Every month I saw INS come through and do a sweep, checking people for work visas. Those who didn’t have visas were picked up and arrested. Some were thrown in federal prison because of re-entry. Families are being torn apart because of these reasons. Some come back because of family ties. They come back because they want to see their sons, daughters, mother and father. Some relatives are too old to travel or too young to understand.

Recently Oklahoma has passed a new law called House Bill 160U. It specifically targeted "illegal" or non-citizen people in Amerika. We get pulled over for no reason so that they can check for ID. If any person or company hires or harbors "illegals," there will be fines and imprisonment. Some small businesses are closing down because "illegals" are afraid to work.

We’re being punished for breaking the law, and punished again by federal court. We’re guilty for not being Amerikan citizens. Some of us don’t have a voice. Sometimes I wonder, does kindness have any value in Amerika?

chain
[Control Units] [Abuse] [Oklahoma] [ULK Issue 7]
expand

Oklahoma Pigs Set Up Prisoners

Let me tell you how these pigs run this system. We are locked down 23 hours a day, no programs, this prison holds about 1,800 prisoners, 60% are white, 35% Black and the rest "hispanic." Racism is really bad here, some pigs are really racist. Every time something happens at another unit we will get locked down and punished for it.

Recently they came to my cell and conducted a shakedown. I was the first to cuff and get ready for the shakedown, but my celly refused. After about 5 or 6 minutes he decided to cuff up. They came in and found an empty trash bag with beer residue in it, so they took my TV and wrote me and my celly up. My celly admitted that that was his. Well about 3 weeks ago they did the shakedown and found something that my celly flushed down the toilet. They wrote him up and they dropped him to a level one.

I'm on level 2, and I'm coming up for parole in 2 months. I don't have control over what another prisoner is doing. I've been trying to move to another cell but they refuse to move me. What I'm getting at is that they punished me for something my celly did. They do that to make me and my celly kill each other. They do it like that a lot, and most of the time prisoners do stab each other.

Sometimes these pigs pay or tell other prisoners to beat each other up. Just a while back a couple prisoners got into it with these pigs. They beat them up and put them in a cell with a rival gang to get them stabbed. Their own Lt brought in dope and got busted. And if you say something bad to the pigs they will go tell a lie about you to other prisoners. Just another way the police control things.

chain
[Censorship] [Oklahoma] [ULK Issue 2]
expand

Censorship in Oklahoma

The mail kops here stole whatever you sent me, using their standard excuses of "incites revolution" tripe. Probably they just got the secret ok from chuckle-head Chertoff to snoop and thieve at whim. With all the government terrorism being spewed by government about terrorism, it's not a good time to be secretly branded with a bunch of black checkmarks by a pack of sociopathic, religion-crazed paranoids-in-power.

They sat on it for a month before finally deciding, for their own obscure reasons, to obey the law and tell me they stole mail that came from you. If it's any consolation, they are not equal opportunity thieves: they show a decided preference for stealing mail from you over the anarchist groups, Hitler huggers, KKK, etc.

chain
[Control Units] [Prison Labor] [Oklahoma]
expand

Repression in OK SHU

I am a female Segregation Housing Unit (SHU) inmate, and this is my fourth time on Administrative Segregation (A.S.). I have spent a total of eight years on lockdown. As of May, 2004 I have been on SHU for one year and seven months, for an alleged battery without a weapon on another inmate. The inmate that I battered has a paper filed on me that keeps us separated on a yard divided from mine by a brick wall.

Nail clippers are not allowed in this facility, so I am charged $2.00 to see the doctor and fill out a form, and $2.00 to use the clippers. This leads me to ask where is the money that is supplied to run this facility? Has it been reduced? Even as an indigent inmate, I must pay for any doctor visit, plus medications.

Where does inmates' money go and what is it used for? Starting May 3, 2004, we are going to be charged for any form we need for in-house mail. We are charged for copies of cases from the law library, legal-sized envelopes to mail to the courts, etc. Being on the SHU it is almost as if I am cut off from the world completely. I have no resources to raise hell about injustice.

At this prison, slave labor is in full effect. Inmates work at a plant here called Oklahoma Corrections Industries. They handle Department of Motor Vehicles-related paperwork. They're paid a few cents an hour, according to how many huge boxes they sort through.

There are 37 rules for the SHU that we must comply with or have our exercise (which is a right) terminated.

[From the prison's handout, these rules include: "9. Materials will not be allowed to hang over the cell door to obstruct observation. ... "15. Magazines, newspapers, and catalogs are not allowed for DU/PI/PD/TD/TS inmates. ... "17. Library books cannot be traded between inmates, left outside of the cell, or placed in the windowsill. ... "22. Inmates are subject to urinalysis testing at any time. ... "30. All inmates shall be allowed one hour of exercise outdoors, weather permitting, five days per week. The Shift Supervisor may cancel outdoor exercise for security reasons. If exercise is indoors, inmates will be restrained in belly chains, hand cuffs, black box, and leg irons ..."]

If an A.S. inmate receives a misconduct for not having our shirts tucked into our pants, we must spend more time on A.S.

Your Notes are an informative inspiration. I am now being transferred to another yard. I will fight for my beliefs if I am sent to hell.

Sincerely,

chain
Go to Page 1