Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Oregon Prisons

Postage is one of our biggest expenses. Why not send a book of stamps or two to POB 40799 SF, CA 94140 next time you're at the post office? 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.

[Organizing] [Oregon] [ULK Issue 45]
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Education is Critical to the United Front

The basic logic behind the United Front for Peace in Prisons is simple, but genius. The concept is self-explanatory. How else do circumstances get resolved without the five principles?

Individualism and evasion counters liberation. Regardless, whether we are into politics or not, believe that politics are into us. All aspects of life have an element of control that dictate our lives, and if we don't seek unity and ultimate internationalism, chaos will always follow. Sharing information about ourselves to each other in collective formats is the first step. Guarding ourselves is natural; it is something we do to protect ourselves from opposing forces. However, through self-discipline and some simple confidence and motivation, progress is possible.

Our biological nature is to be selfish. It is primal instinct to seek ultimate survival and power, and without a balance or some consciousness, humyns want to oppress each other. The ones who have blindfolds on have the idea that oppression = peace, and perhaps they have been programmed to think and view life in such a manner. However am I the only one, or does that logic sound irrational to you too?

In my opinion (and I could be wrong) I believe a better approach is to educate as many people as you can to obtain growth and progress. There will always be contradictions, of course (no matter what). But to give up is to give up on your people and yourself.

I like Mao's quote from "Some Questions Concerning Methods of Leadership":

"[T]ake the ideas of the masses (scattered and unsystematic ideas) and concentrate them (through study turn them into concentrated and systematic ideas), then go to the masses and propagate and explain these ideas until the masses embrace them as their own, hold fast to them and translate them into action, and test the correctness of these ideas in such action. Then once again concentrate ideas from the masses and once again go to the masses so that the ideas are persevered in and carried through. And so on, over and over again in an endless spiral, with the ideas becoming more correct, more vital and richer each time. Such is the Marxist theory of knowledge."

Educate to liberate!


MIM(Prisons) responds: We have a lot of unity with this writer's call to action around the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). But we do disagree that there is a biologically inherent trait of selfishness in humyns. While there is certainly an instinct to survive in all living things, this does not mean there must be an instinct to take power and oppress other people. We can see that this is what many people do today, but the culture of capitalism teaches us that's how to get ahead, from the time we are born. So how can we separate out instinct from culture in this situation?

As Maoists we believe in the need for a dictatorship of the proletariat after the revolution, where the formerly oppressed majority take control of the government and run it in their own interests while dictating to the minority (who promoted exploitation) how society will be run. During this period of socialism we will need cultural revolutions to challenge the ingrained mentality of capitalism that has taught everyone to look out for themselves first and to get ahead at the expense of others. We know it will take many generations of cultural revolution and re-education of humynity but we do not think the reality of capitalist culture determines what humyns are capable of under communism.

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[United Front] [Oregon] [ULK Issue 42]
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EZLN Prison Chapter Joins United Front for Peace in Prisons

My comrades and I of Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) Prison Chapter seek to consolidate with the United Front for Peace in Prisons. We comprehend the importance of growth, unity, and peace within the struggle and are moving to expand political consciousness amongst the oppressed. As of now we are separated and divided within the sensory deprivation chamber and often face blockaded correspondence due to "material that threatens the safety and security" (usually that "material" describes state oppression and advocates peace). However, such restrictions cannot deter our commitment towards the development of political consciousness and ultimately collective liberation.

The war on the oppressed is perhaps at its peak right now. The tyrannical ring leaders have recently unleashed a blitzkrieg of "long-term" isolation on the mass majority of those who are already in isolation. And here in Oregon they're moving to expand their deprivation empire. Only through collective organizing and solidarity can we find peace within.

-Subcomandante Carga

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[Security] [Abuse] [Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution] [Oregon] [ULK Issue 42]
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Pigs Kill in Oregon, Punish Prisoners while Pretending to Investigate

I've been at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution for a relatively short time and since landing here I've been pretty amazed at the level of abuses carried out by the swine. They make up totally fictitious claims in order to write prisoners up for rule violations and throw them in isolation. In the past four months I've experienced this twice. Both times costing me visits with my family and broken or stolen property by the pigs. Once I was given a fine of $100. Others have been given fines plus 180 days in isolation and moved to extended isolation units called Intensive Management Unit where prisoners will spend at least a year in isolation.

In the regular housing units the swine routinely berate prisoners, threaten us with isolation and violence, put us in potentially harmful situations involving other prisoners, and they use any small rule violation committed by a single or two prisoners to throw whole groups of people in isolation. Most recently I've seen people get shoved into the isolation units for having the tongue of their shoe poking outside of their pants cuff or refusing to sit at chow hall tables belonging to other groups. I'm not arguing the "right or wrong" about divisive grouping or "ownership", I'm only pointing out the fact that pigs are purposely trying to manipulate us into harmful, potentially violent situations. If we refuse, we get shoved into isolation and given fines.

Because of the swine insisting on pushing us into conflict scenarios with each other at constantly escalating levels, people are beginning to lash out under the pressure. Unfortunately, for the extreme majority of prisoners, we really have no education in organizational strategy or structure; we've never been taught proper modes of function and effective progress. Unfortunately we've got this idea that taking lessons and direction from those more qualified than ourselves somehow diminishes us as individuals or makes us somehow inferior. Instead of making positive steps to educate ourselves and to apply ourselves productively, we fall right into the trap and lash out at each other.

Falling into that trap and lashing out at each other is actually the most counter-productive thing we could possibly do. Aside from reaffirming to ourselves that gang and race divisions are necessary for self-protection against our peers, it also confirms and justifies the pigs' assertion that we need to be constantly repressed, punished, abused — essentially victimized. They treat us like animals, so because of our refusal to take productive direction or self-educate, we resort to reactionary, self-inflicting outbursts. By reacting in these ways all we're doing is contributing to our own escalating repression.

Possibly the worst part of all this is all the fucking snitchery goin' on. Ben Franklin said "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." I whole heartedly agree. In the context of this environment here. The "temporary safety" these coward rats are seeking is safety from the pigs who would otherwise make their lives even more hellish than it already is. If you don't tell on your peers, the swine will target you, write you up, take you shit, or put you in the hole. But if you do tell, they let you be.

The reason I can say these cowards are not interested in safety from other prisoners, but from the pigs themselves is because the rats are mostly those so-called "good dudes." It makes sense too. It's the "good dudes" who are always in the loop, who know shit. The meek among us simply want to be left alone for the most part.

So there you have it. The pigs crack down on us, we talk about doing something about it, we get snitched on and the snitches get less cracked down on than the rest of us while the pigs crack down harder. Those of us who chose to retain our sense of dignity and self-respect in the face of all this while also valuing our sense of self-preservation are left with the recourse of keeping our mouths shut, our eyes shut, our ears shut and trying to attract as little attention to ourselves as possible while we all get crushed together — even the coward rats.

Well, yesterday things took to a new level. On 29 August, a Friday morning, two friends of mine got into a simple minor fist fight. Instead of firing a warning shot, the pig fired into the chest of one of them. I watched him fall and as he rolled on the ground another pig came up and sprayed him then jumped on him. I watched my friend struggle to get a pig off of him while he choked to death on his own blood.

It took several minutes for the medical staff to even get to the yard. While waiting, I looked at the proud pig standing like Captain Morgan with his rifle laid across his arm. When he saw me looking at him as I lay on the ground, he put his rifle up to his eye and pointed it at me. Hopefully he saw my mouth say "fuck you" through his scope.

Finally, when the medical staff showed up to the yard, they walked slowly, across a basketball court, while a nurse was giving my friend chest suppressions and mouth-to-mouth. They shuffled across the track, while we all yelled for them to run, to hurry, they moseyed across the soccer field. The swine cleared everyone off the yard before the medical swine would do anything to save my friend. By then he was already gone. He was a young kid in his early 20s, and a phenomenal artist in any medium you could imagine. He applied himself to his own personal development and excellence with passion and he studied hard and made a point of constantly improving himself on a daily basis. He was funny and brilliant and had an endless depth of potential. And he was the victim of an ignorant murderer whose only purpose in life is to maintain a system built on the misery of us and our families.

Now the whole institution is locked down. All of us — white, black, brown, red — have been slammed down in our cells, and they say we'll be slammed for at least a week. Why? Because one of them killed one of us. We'll be eating sack lunches. Our family visits will be canceled. They've been pulling people out for "interviews" all night. I watched the ambulance pull out of the parking lot from my cell window. It was driving slowly. No rush.

Sure, I blame the pigs. But even more, I blame all you slimy little rats who do the pigs work for them. You little worms who deceive your friends and inflict them with isolation at the hands of your enemies in exchange for scraps and pats on the head. As much as you fuckers disgust me, I'll also say though that it's not too late for you to stop informing on your friends and peers. The moment we can create a real and true structure of unity — even a disorganized one at first — will be the moment we have the power to shape our own communities.

Update: I was pulled out for an "interview" last night. It was a detective from the Oregon state police. They interviewed every prisoner who was on the yard when my friend was murdered. The detective told me I was the last one he would be interviewing, which I found interesting and a bit suspicious. He informed me that as a matter of protocol it's his duty to read me my Miranda rights before the actual recorded interview. He read it to everyone, just a routine, ya know. Okay, I said. Go ahead. Let me stress certain points of what he said: He said anything I say will be used against me. He also said I have the right to remain silent, and that I also in fact have the right to an attorney. When he finished reading me this list of my so-called "rights" what I said in response was: "I have no problem speaking with you, but I'd like to invoke my right to an attorney before we begin." He looked at me in surprise and said "well...okay then" and shut off the tape recorder. After it was off, he said "Wow, I've interviewed almost 200 people today and you're the only one who asked for a lawyer." I asked if anyone chose to remain silent and he said only about four or five people. I said "imagine that."

Thanks to you all in solidarity.


MIM(prisons) responds: We share this writer's call for unity among prisoners. The pigs will try to turn people against one another, and will take advantage of those who want a few privileges in exchange for snitching. Building unity is one of the key principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons: "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." It is not enough for us to criticize the snitches. We need to build unity with all who can be won to the side of anti-imperialism, and by solidifying this core we will isolate the snitches and make their jobs harder.

The existence of snitches underscores the importance of a solid security practice. You can't be sure that someone overhearing your conversation won't run to the pigs with what they learn. As one of our USW comrades wrote recently: "So often we hear prisoners commenting on how great the power of snitches and provocateurs are, and it bothers me that we are able to concentrate so much energy on them instead of on the tactics of countering their elementary crosses, and their state." Security is a key part of self-defense for the revolutionary movement at this time. We cannot predict what tactics you need to use where you're at, but we urge all serious about revolutionary organizing to think carefully about security and communications.

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[Control Units] [Snake River Correctional Institution] [Oregon]
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Oregon Long Term Program Expanded

This is a continuation of a letter I wrote you in July about the Long Term (LT) scam here in the Oregon Drpartment of Corrections. Since that letter there have been some changes in here. For starters, these pigs' schemes worked: they were given authorization to expand the LT program by an additional 24 cells. So they opened up another Intensive Management Unit (IMU) section as LT and are currently using the top tier of that section (12 cells) as LT status. They'll eventually fill up every cell in that section as LT, then most likely ask for another extension.

One of the counselors also mentioned that they stopped using the custody status "Long Term" and are now calling it "Retain Custody Level 5." They can call shit by any other name and it's still gonna smell the same.

Additionally, a not-very-well-thought-out lawsuit was partially won recently against IMU resulting in a 90-day review of all IMU and LT status prisoners. Upon review Inmate Program Committee (IPC) is either supposed to decide to keep us in IMU, release us to mainline, or place us in alternative housing (which will most likely be LT or Ad-Seg). However, very few prisoners were released from IMU and 2 Long Termers got released. That's nothing to celebrate about when the release of the 2 is weighed against the expansion of 24 cells.

Most prisoners never even get a response about the review, and they're prime candidates for release due to lack of write-ups or any misconduct while in IMU or LT. The reviews therefore become a convenience for these pigs: when they need the room for more IMU intakes, they'll release someone to open that cell. It also sets the stage for prejudice and discrimination. If for any reason they don't like us they can simply deny any change to our status without ever giving a reason why: maybe they don't like the way we look, our skin art, who we're accused of associating with, maybe we've had confrontations with the piglets and counselors, or maybe even filed grievances and lawsuits. Without ever needing to say why, they can simply deny us, and conveniently declare to have given us our due process.

I will be drafting up a petition to challenge the schemes, but I still don't feel it's right for us to individually challenge this after the fact that we've been placed in these mental torture chambers. So I will be contacting activist groups to see if they can help to abolish this altogether. I got bigger plans in mind which I'll share once I get the petitions prepared. It'll require taking this to the courts, attempting to seek justice in the imperialistic playground of jesters and hypocrites.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade that reforming any system of control units to allow a few people to get out is not going to change the system. We must demand that all long-term isolation units be shut down. Of course this is still just a small part of the criminal injustice system that we are fighting to dismantle, but it is an important part because it is used to target politically active and conscious comrades, punishing them for their work fighting abuse and isolating them from influencing other prisoners.

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[Control Units] [Oregon]
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Shut Down the Oregon Long Term Program

Overpopulation

There's something I'd like to bring to your attention in hopes that you can possibly provide help in stopping and exposing Oregon's long term isolation scheme. In late 2010 Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) started a program called "Long Term" (LT) that has 24 beds/cells. Administration can place someone in LT upon completion of a Disciplinary Segregation sanction and Intensive Management program. LT is permanent lockdown. There are no special criteria that get us placed there, nor any time limit to how long we can be kept on that status. Administration does what they want. Annual evaluations are done with no guarantee we'll be released back to mainline.

From its implementation until the summer of 2013, the 24 LT cells were never completely filled up with LT status prisoners. I was placed there in May 2013 and only about half that section were on LT status. The rest were Intensive Management Unit (IMU) overflows transitioning back to mainline. From May until about January 2014 the Inmate Program Committee (IPC) were long-terming a group of prisoners for their first IMU shot for a fist fight. They had no misconduct while in IMU and they "successfully" completed their LT. It's an admission that they know their IMU program doesn't work, and by failing to release those prisoners back to mainline they never gave it a chance to work. One vato there is paroling within months and IPC didn't want him to parole from mainline. There was no other reason for that decision.

By March 2014 every cell was filled up with LT status prisoners plus about 7 LT overflows who sat in a regular IMU cell, waiting for an LT cell to become available. Well, with annual evaluations only happening in October, the only way an LT cell will become available is if someone gets kicked out and sent back to an IMU unit for disciplinary reasons. In the last annual only 3 people were released back to mainline. So it raises the question: why are they all of a sudden long-terming so many people if there's no room?

By May 2014 they were up to 14 LT overflows. Well, one of the counselors admitted what we were already suspecting: It's all a scam they're pulling with their head honchos in the Dome Building to expand the LT isolation housing. Their intent was to fill up every cell so they can go to their bosses demanding more cells and funds. But they got denied. However, people are still getting assigned to LT. Maybe they feel that as long as they keep the numbers up the Dome will eventually have to relent, which explains a lot of the trips the counselors here have been taking to Salem to push their manipulative agenda. Oregon is turning into a permanent lockdown state. And all this is at the expense of simple decent humanity and civil rights. Many prisoners in LT right now are victims of these pigs' schemes and do not belong there.

Three codes of ethics all DOC employees are supposed to abide by are honor, respect, and dignity. This scheme contradicts all three. I would like to get activist and civil rights groups involved to hopefully shut the program down, or at least to prevent it from being expanded as part of some game these pigs are playing.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This program is similar to what we see in the criminal injustice system across Amerika, where prisoners are put in long term isolation cells for no particular reason, and given no opportunity to appeal this placement. In many places it is used as punishment for political organizing. This isolation is a form of torture, and counter to every supposed aim of rehabilitation. We look forward to working with comrades in Oregon to expose and fight this program.


Campaign info:
Shut Down the Control Units
This article referenced in:
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[Campaigns] [Download and Print] [Abuse] [United Struggle from Within] [Oregon]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, Oregon

Oregon Grievance Petition
Click to download a PDF
of the Oregon grievance petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades 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.

Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC)
2575 Center Street
Salem, OR 97301

U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, PHB
Washington DC 20530

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
PO Box 9778
Arlington, VA 22219

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

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

*PDF updated May 2012, July 2012, July 2014, and October 2017*

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[Organizing] [Oregon] [ULK Issue 37]
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Elevate the Prison Struggle Beyond Day to Day Goals

I just read this article from a Nebraska 'rad about a failed protest (in Under Lock & Key). It seems I'm not the only one dealing with embarrassments in resistance.

I'm at the largest joint in Oregon and have been in isolation for about 14 months. I've been a very reluctant participant in mess after mess of similar - if much weaker - attempts at goal driven resistance. I say "goal-driven", not "goal oriented" lest it give someone the impression that the kids here have some semblance of organization or some understanding of strategy and method. They don't. Further, I say "reluctant participant" because even though I realize the unquestionable futility of the motions carried out around here, I'll never be "that dude" who stood idle during any attempt at resistance to the swine.

The Nebraskan bloke mentioned the complaints the prisoners have against the swine, but didn't get much into the root of the disfunction of the prisoners during their upheaval. I'll assume that the problems in Nebraska are at least somewhat similar to Oregon's. Whether I'm right or not, I'll still say what I have to say for others looking at the same problems.

The fact of the matter is that we all face the same situation. We're oppressed on some level and want to relieve ourselves of that weight. Our ultimate goal and desire is to destroy our adversaries completely. This is all obvious. Each person's - or group's - particular complaints and level of victimization is largely irrelevant except for how it may affect the functionality of the revolt. In other words, the food quality and such, really shouldn't be occupying much space in one's mind or discussions when it comes to applying ourselves to revolt. It's universally understood that we're fed garbage and people seem to get hung up on these benign little details.

The goal is successful revolt. The problem is lack of proper organization. Here in Oregon we have too many gangs, none of which have been developed along a framework of functional organization. Not only does each gang act autonomously from the whole, but each individual acts autonomously from his own gang.

On the sporadic occasions that they all do decide on some undertaking together, there is never any defined, agreed-upon leadership. The usual formula is, 3 or 4 of the loudest gang members on a unit cook up some scheme to rail against the swine, then talk everyone else into jumping on board. The scheme is always something like "we're gonna refuse to do this or that until they give us this or that." And that's about as much planning and thought that goes into it. It may last a few days till people start dropping off, and a few more until it's abandoned completely.

Aside form lack of education in strategy and tactics, and aside from lack of education in proper modes of organization and the egotism that keeps us from filling certain necessary roles within the structure of organization, the big problem here is expecting some simple "cause and effect" in these fiascos. The idea that the swine will react how we wish or expect is absurd. The fact is, they have loads and loads of training, protocol and on-call specialists to deal with any situation we might launch against them.

Here we're never going in with anything close to a realistic understanding of the situation. We wage half-baked, disorganized, small-scope battles against an enemy that we're not taking fully into account. What we need to be doing is organizing a large-scale protracted war with the realization that we are facing a ridiculously superior adversary.

If we're still griping about food, TVs, phones and other luxuries, I dare say we have a very long way to go before we'll be of the right mentality to launch any kind of successful campaign. In fact, I'd say that if you're a revolutionary existing in the eye of the imperialist storm you really have no business looking at the fucking TV anyways.

In my situation, I've been struggling to come up with an organizational model that can transcend the divisiveness created by all the gangs to create one functional body of resistance. Once I've got everything put together, from the structure of board and body of the groups, down to individual roles and a clear and educated model of functionality complete with protocol for deciding direction and strategy, then I, along with a few of my cohorts here, will set out to put it into place. Once our machine is fully functional and each gear is spinning in unison with the others, only then will I be willing to make any sudden movements against my adversary.

As I said, if your mind is still on things like food, phones, programs, yard and so on, then I would suspect you haven't given yourself up to revolution as much as is necessary to achieve it. Maybe a lot of us don't have the fortitude of mind to reach the level of dedication that some of us have, but if you call yourself a revolutionary, it's not optional - you must sacrifice any desire for luxury for the sake of progress. Food only matters in so far as whether or not it keeps you alive and functional. Programs only matter in as much as the opportunities it affords you to communicate with each other to familiarize yourself with your environment.

I would strongly suggest that anyone who's interested in truly shedding the weight of these forces that are crushing you to stop focusing on those lame inconveniences and start studying more practical concepts. And until you have a full grasp of what your looking at, and until you have a full grasp of what needs to be done to destroy it, and until you have what you need in place, keep your head low, keep your mouth shut, keep your face in the books, and good luck!


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is relatively new to working with MIM(Prisons), a fact that we mention because we have a lot of unity and we hope that s/he, like many others behind bars, will come to look on United Struggle from Within as the structure that fits with what's needed to elevate our strategy and tactics in the prisons. The organizational model that this prisoner discusses, to elevate above divisiveness, is exactly what we too are striving to build, and is one of the main goals of the USW-initiated United Front for Peace in Prisons. We look forward to building with this comrade, through the pages of Under Lock & Key and other independent institutions. Our Free Books to Prisoners Program offers study packs on strategy, as well as organizational structures, and many other important topics. Comrades who are interested in this type of study should join a MIM(Prisons)-led study group today.

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[Legal] [Oregon]
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Oregon Prisoner Fines are Illegal

Upon deep review/research, I've been completely unable to find any Oregon Law (ORS) to justify and allow the prisons in this state to charge prisoners fines. There is no law allowing it. But there is a law saying only a judge can change/impose fines of any kind. "The Oregon Property Protection Act of 2000" prohibits the forfeitures of property and funds, without a criminal conviction involving that property: article 15 section 10(2)(b), section(3), section 10(7)(b) of the Oregon constitution. Also, "the property of a person should not be forfeited in a forfeiture proceeding by the government unless and until that person is convicted of a crime involving that property."(10)(3) The Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) is a political subdivision of the state.

Well, ODOC has taken it upon themselves to impose fines of hundreds of dollars and automatically withdraw the money from an inmates account. Normally, to withdraw money from our account we need to sign/and authorize them to do it by signing a CD28 giving permission. So what they are doing amounts to theft! And is part of their money making racketeering illegal bullshit. Yet they'll never get charged with racketeering because it's okay when pigs break the laws.

Also, there is a new tool the imperial swine have up here for ensuring their prison population grows. It's called Measure 57. In the past 10 years the female prison population has grown by 86% because of the lengthening of prison sentences for drug offenses and property crimes. And this measure will more than likely affect females more than men. (Source: Justice Matters Spring 2012 issue)

The grievance process is a joke here. I've filled my allotted six a month every month on every single rule violation that happens and none of them have gotten anything other than "we find no evidence in your claim."


MIM(Prisons) responds: We commend this comrade for researching how the Oregon prisons are violating the State's own laws. It's important that we fight these battles because there are so many laws allowing oppression, those few that we can use to defend the rights of the oppressed must be publicized. It is very common for the pigs to ignore the law, and it's true that they are rarely punished for this.

But we can use these laws to our advantage. The grievance process is just a start. The campaign to demand our grievances be addressed is another tactic in this fight. We have petitions for many states that can be used to fight against the systematic denial of grievances by building support among the prisoner masses. Write to MIM(Prisons) for a copy of the one for your state, or if we don't have one help us customize the petition to your state. Legal research and writing like this comrade is doing is essential to our struggle against the imperialist system as a whole.

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[National Oppression] [Oregon]
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Oregon Mirrors Country in National Oppression Statistics

I was reading an article I would like to bring to your attention, titled "Facing Race in Oregon," it was printed in Justice Matters, published by Partnership for Safety and Justice, out of Portland, Oregon.

As of 2010, whites in Oregon made up 78.5% of the state population, while "people of color" made up 21.5%. (The article uses the term "people of color.") Whites are 72.5% of the prison population. Oregon's population is 2% Black, but Blacks are 9.6% of the prison population. Oregon's population is 11% Latino while they are 14% of the prison population. Oregon's general population is 1.6% Native American, Native Americans are 2.4% of the prison population. Oregon's general population is 3.7% Asian/Pacific Islander, with this group comprises 1.4% of the prison population.

The imperialist pigs gave out a 2011 report card, a legislative report card on racial equality. The Senate received a "C" while the House received a "D" (great grades from our supposed leaders eh?) These grades alone show that racial "equality" isn't a matter these swine politicians care about. (The entire whack report can be found at the website for the Partnership for Safety and Justice. But it's useless to read because it amounts to imperial pigs wasting $ on stupid reports instead of solving problems.)

The supposed "justice" system clearly shows it's practice of disproportionate and biased policies on "people of color," by the fact that, despite having one of the smallest Black populations in the country, Oregon ranks 13th highest in the country for Blacks in prison per capita. And Blacks are 5 times more likely to be incarcerated in Oregon than whites. But here's the kicker, national research proves that crime rates as a whole show there is no difference among racial groups in regard to likelihood to commit crime. So obviously race plays a factor in who Oregon decides to send to prison.

And check this out, Oregon has a whack law called Measure 11 (it's some mandatory minimum bullshit) and it requires youth of the age of 15 and older to be automatically prosecuted as adults as soon as they are charged. And when they are convicted it's mandatory they serve the same sentence that applies to adults. And guess what, of the 36 percent of youth who are victims of this Measure 11 crap, 25% of them are "youth of color." While Black youth make up only 4 percent of Oregon's general population, 34% of all juveniles who are female measure 11 indictments are Black girls!

Point is this, numbers sure don't lie. And the corrupt swindlers and leaders of Oregon seem to enjoy putting "people of color" (as they term nonwhites) to work in their prison factories to keep the money rolling into their greedy pockets. And the sad thing is, inmates do the labor for these pigs and shuffle to the "cotton fields" like mindless cattle.

That's why MIM is vital! Because it educates the people. That's why I cherish each of your newsletters and share them with everyone who can read, and wants to, and why I read it to the ones who can't or don't want to.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It is a common misperception that prisoners who work play a role in enriching their captors in this country, and even that such labor is there are so many prisons. Like the prison system itself, prison labor is more about oppression (largely national oppression as this author points out) than making money. As we explained in an article on The U.$. Prison Economy, prisoners who work are helping to offset some of the cost of imprisonment, at best. Prisons are a very expensive system of social control for the imperialists. The people who get jobs in the criminal injustice system certainly are benefiting from it, but the money mostly comes from the government, not from prisoner labor.

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[Legal] [Two Rivers Correctional Institution] [Oregon] [ULK Issue 26]
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Oregon Grievance and Discrimination Remedies

Grievances are one of the only administrative remedies we have against unjust treatment and staff misconduct. In Oregon we also have discrimination complaints, the right to attempt petition, a department of corrections ombudsman and (any prisoner in any state or federal facility can also do this next step) the ability to file with no fee a Department of Justice (DOJ) civil rights complaint.

In Oregon, grievances come with two appeals. Then you have exhausted the process and can go to further discrimination complaint with one appeal and then that process is exhausted. Using either/or you can lay the groundwork for a federal civil suit and meet the requirements of the 1997 Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) providing you exhaust all administrative remedies available to you. So, you must either exhaust all of your grievance appeals or discrimination complaint appeals to file suit. You may not file a grievance and a discrimination complaint on the same issue. I always advise that you exhaust every grievance and discrimination complaint so you retain your ability to file suit.

You can file a DOJ civil rights complaint at any time with or without exhausting either administrative remedy. However, showing you have tried to address the issue with no satisfaction will help your DOJ complaint. Always create a paperwork trail. Always!

If you are having ongoing issues of some type, but can A) document a new incident of the same type has occurred and B) have new information about the issue, you may file another grievance under OAR 291-019-0140 (6) or another discrimination complaint under OAR 291-006-0015 (6). However, expect the grievance coordinator will try and stop you claiming you have already filed a grievance/discrimination complaint on the same issue previously. This is one of their tactics to keep you from proving an issue is persistent and is ongoing. This is currently happening to me at Two Rivers Correctional Institution. Ms. Reynolds, the grievance coordinator is stopping valid grievances and discrimination complaints when I can clearly prove the Oregon administrative rules are being properly followed.

Always know the rules and laws you are evoking. I suggest you read up on them and copy them so you can cite them in your grievance/discrimination complaint process.

If your process is blocked you can take it to the Oregon DOC ombudsman or internal affairs - or both, to keep the issue alive. Make copies of everything you do and make sure you have followed all processes to the letter of rule before you go to this level. As a last resort per OAR 291-107, you can attempt a petition process as well.

You may face uphill battles but if you are going to use the grievance/discrimination complaint process, so do it right the first time and be persistent. You may not win but you can keep the struggle alive.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Information like this is key to push forward our battle demanding our grievances be addressed. We don't yet have a petition for Oregon, but for many other states we have petitions prisoners can request to push this grievance battle on the political front while filing administrative appeals and working your way into court. For those states that don't yet have a petition, request the generic version and help us customize it to your state.

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