Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Pennsylvania Prisons

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out 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.

[Censorship] [State Correctional Institution Camp Hill] [Bill Clements Unit] [Santa Rosa Correctional Institution] [Florida State Prison] [Jefferson Correctional Institution] [Coyote Ridge Corrections Center] [Richard A Handlon Correctional Facility] [Stateville Correctional Center] [Virginia] [Pennsylvania] [Texas] [Florida] [Washington] [Missouri] [Michigan] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 59]

Censors in Their Own Words - November 2017

U.$. imperialist leaders and their labor aristocracy supporters like to criticize other countries for their tight control of the media and other avenues of speech. For instance, many have heard the myths about communist China forcing everyone to think and speak alike. In reality, these stories are a form of censorship of the truth in the United $tates. In China under Mao the government encouraged people to put up posters debating every aspect of political life, to criticize their leaders, and to engage in debate at work and at home. This was an important part of the Cultural Revolution in China. There are a number of books available in this country that give a truthful account, but far more money is put into anti-communist propaganda books. Here in the United $tates free speech is reserved for those with money and power.

In prisons in particular we see so much censorship, especially targeting those who are politically conscious and fighting for their rights. Fighting for our First Amendment right to free speech is a battle that MIM(Prisons) and many prisoners waste a lot of time and money on. For us this is perhaps the most fundamental of requirements for our organizing work. There are prisoners, and some entire prisons (and sometimes entire states) that are denied all mail from MIM(Prisons). This means we can't send in educational material, or study courses, or even supply a guide to fighting censorship. Many prisons regularly censor ULK claiming that the news and information printed within is a "threat to security." For them, printing the truth about what goes on behind bars is dangerous. But if we had the resources to take these cases to court we believe we could win in many cases.

Denying prisoners mail is condemning some people to no contact with the outside world. To highlight this, and the ridiculous and illegal reasons that prisons use to justify this censorship, we will periodically print a summary of some recent censorship incidents in ULK.

We hope that lawyers, paralegals, and those with some legal knowledge will be inspired to get involved and help us with these censorship battles, both behind bars and on the streets. For the full list of censorship incidents, along with copies of appeals and letters from the prison, check out our censorship reporting webpage.

Virginia DOC

The Chair of the publications review committee for the VA DOC, Melissa Welch, sent MIM(Prisons) a letter denying ULK 56, and then the next month the same letter denying ULK 57. Both letters cite the same reasons:

"D. Material, documents, or photographs that emphasize depictions or promotions of violence, disorder, insurrection, terrorist, or criminal activity in violation of state or federal laws or the violation of the Offender Disciplinary Procedure.

"F. Material that depicts, describes, or promotes gang bylaws, initiations, organizational structure, codes, or other gang-related activity or association."

Pennsylvania DOC

Last issue of ULK we reported on the censorship of ULK57 in Pennsylvania. After sending a protest letter to appeal the decision we had a rare victory! From the Policy Office, PA Department of Corrections:
"This is to notify you that the publication in issue does not violate Department Policy. As such, the decision of the correctional institution is reversed and the inmates in the PA Department of Corrections will be permitted to receive the publication. The correctional institutions will be notified by the Policy Office of the decision."

If anyone in PA hasn't received ULK 57 yet, let us know and we will send another copy to you.

Pennsylvania SCI-Camp Hill

From a prisoner we were forwarded a notice of incoming publication denial for ULK 57: "create a danger within the context of the correctional facility" p.21, 24

The description quotes sentences that can't be found within ULK including: "PREA system strip searches for harassment in PA", "Black prisoners deserve to retaliate against predominantly white ran system", and "This is a excellent reminder of PA importance of fighting." They are making up text as reasons for censorship in Pennsylvania.

Texas - Bill Clemens Unit

A prisoner forwarded us a denial for ULK 57 "Page 11 contains information that could cause a prison disruption."

In March 2017, our study pack Defend the Legacy of the Black Panther Party was censored for

"Reason C. Page 9 contains information that could cause a strike or prison disruption."
This adds to the growing list of our most important literature that is banned in the state forever, including Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat and [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlan. We need someone with legal expertise to challenge Texas's policies that allow for publications to be banned forever in the state.

Florida - Santa Rosa Correctional Institution

A prisoner forwarded us a notice of impoundment of ULK 57. The reason cited: "Pages 1, 11, 14, 15, & 17 advocates insurgency and disruption of institutional operations."

We appealed this denial and got a response from Dean Peterson, Library Services Administrator for the Florida DOC, reiterating the reasons for impoundment and upholding the denial: "In their regularly scheduled meeting of August 30, 2017 the Literature Review Committee of the Florida Department of Corrections upheld the institution's impoundment and rejected the publication for the grounds stated. This means that issue will not be allowed into our correctional institutions."

Florida DOC

Following up on a case printed in ULK 57 regarding Florida's denial of the MIM(Prisons) censorship pack, for no specific reasons. We received a response to our appeal of this case from the same Dean Peterson, Library Services Administrator, named above.

"From the number of the FDC form you reference and your description of what happened it is apparent the institutional mailroom did not handle the Censorship Guide as a publication, but instead handled it in accordance with the Florida Administrative Code rule for routine mail. As such, the item was not impounded, was not posted to the list of impounded publications for any other institution to see, was not referred to the Literature Review Committee for review, and thus does not appear on the list of rejected publications. That means that if the exact same Guide came to any other inmate mailroom staff would look at it afresh. In theory, it could even be allowed into the institution. ... "The Florida Administrative Code makes no provision for further review."

Florida - Florida State Prison

ULK 58 was rejected for what appears to just be a list of titles of articles, some not even complete:

PGS 6 Liberation schools to organize through the wall (talk about the hunger strikes)
PGS 8 DPRK; White Supremacy's Global Agenda
PGS 11 Case law to help those facing
PGS 19 White and gaining consciousness

Florida - Jefferson Correctional Institution

Meditations on Frantz Fanon's Wretched of the Earth: New Afrikan Revolutionary Writings by James Yaki Sayles was denied to a prisoner at Jefferson Correctional Institution because "inmate has received a second copy of the same edition of this publication violating chapter 33-501.401 (16)(b) and procedure 501.401(7)(d)."

Washington state - Coyote Ridge CC

The invitation to and first assignment for our correspondence introductory study group was rejected by Mailroom Employee April Long for the following reasons:

"Advocates violence against others and/or the overthrow of authority.
Advocates that a protected class or group of individuals is inferior and/or makes such class/group the object of ridicule and/or scorn, and may reasonably be thought to precipitate a violent confrontation between the recipient and a member(s) of the target group. Rejected incoming mailing from MIM. Mailing contains working that appears to be referring to law enforcement as 'pigs' it appears to be ridiculing and scornful. There is also a section in mailing labeled solutions that calls prisoners to take actions against prison industries and gives specific ideas/suggestions. Nothing to forward onto offender."

A recent study assignment for the University of Maoist Thought was also censored at Coyote Ridge. MIM(Prisons) has not yet been informed of this censorship incident by the facility. The study group participant wrote and told us it was censored for being a "copy of copyrighted material." The material in question was published in 1972 in the People's Republic of China. Not only did that government actively work against capitalist concepts such as copyright, we believe that even by the United $tates' own standards this book should not be subject to censorship.

Washington state

Clallam Bay CF rejected ULK 58 because: "Newsletter is being rejected as it talks about September 9 events including offenders commencing a hunger strike until equal treatment, retaliation and legal rights issues are resolved."

Coyote Ridge CC rejected ULK 58 for a different set of reasons: "Contains plans for activity that violates state/federal law, the Washington Administrative Code, Department policy and/or local facet/rules. Contains correspondence, information, or other items relating to another offender(s) without prior approval from the Superintendent/designee: or attempts or conveys unauthorized offender to offender correspondence."


We received the following report from a Canadian prisoner who had sent us some stamps to pay for a few issues of ULK to be mailed to Canada.

"A few months ago, on July 18, I received notice from the V&C department informing that five issues of ULK had arrived here for me. The notice also explained that the issues had been seized because of a Commissioner's Directive (764.6) which states that '[t]he institutional head may prohibit entry into the institution of material that portrays excessive violence and aggression, or prison violence; or if he or she believes on reasonable grounds that the material would incite inmates to commit similar acts.' I grieved the seizure, among other things, citing the sections on page 2 of ULK, which 'explicitly discourage[s prisoners] from engaging in any violence or illegal acts,' and citing too the UFPP statement of peace on page 3, which speaks of the organizational aim to end needless conflicts and violence within prisons.

"Well, I can now report that my grievance was upheld and that all copies of ULK were released to me, but not without the censorship of drawings deemed to portray or promote the kind of violence described in the above-cited Commissioner's Directive. It's a decision I can live with for now."


We got reports from two people that the blanket ban on ULK in Missouri was removed and ULK 58 was received. If you're in Missouri and still not getting your ULK, be sure to let us know.

Michigan - Richard A Handlon CF

ULK 58 was rejected because "Articles in Under Lock & Key contains information about criminal activity that might entice criminal activity within the prison facility - threat to security."

Illinois - Stateville CC

ULK 58 was rejected because: "The publication appears to: Advocate or encourage violence, hatred, or group disruption or it poses an intolerable risk of violence or disruption. Be otherwise detrimental to security, good order, rehabilitation, or discipline or it might facilitate criminal activity or be detrimental to mental health. Detrimental to safety and security of the facility. Disrupts order. Promotes organization and leadership."

Read More Censorship Reports
[Abuse] [State Correctional Institution Chester] [Pennsylvania]

SCI Chester: An Alternate Reality

I am writing once again to personally thank you for the contributions you make for self aware prisoners everywhere. Through my anti-imperialist discussion groups I feel I'm helping these brothers open their eyes. The study material you send me helps immensely. As a ranking member of The Insane Crip Gang I preach the Communist movement to all my lil' homies. I give my assistance to any who I can help with grievance process, litigation, or anything involving violation of rights. It's a terrible time with their hate fueled mass murders and it doesn't help that more and more police brutality keeps happening and pigs keep violating our rights constantly.

Currently we at SCI: Chester D-pod have a tyrannical unit manager named Ms. Bourne who is obsessed with her power and does anything to try to break us. She shows open racism and only does her job when it involves one of her "pets" (inmates who kiss her ass and provide her with info). She is currently trying to enforce her own rules not part of DOC policy and treats D-pod as its own entity separate from the rest of the jail. She puts up bulletins constantly changing rules like "must remain seated in the exact same spot through the entire rec period or will be punished" which isn't sanctioned by the D.O.C. She also she took away the chairs at the phones so as to make the brothers uncomfortable when speaking to families. She steals the grievances from the box so she can remove ones she doesn't approve of before they are picked up by the grievance coordinator. She openly calls caucasian brethren crackers and honkies, and refuses to provide any assistance to them.

90% of the pigs here are women. SCI: Chester was part of a program called Welfare to Work which gave jobs at the prison to female welfare recipients in the area who are not qualified even for this glorified babysitter position. They are blatantly disrespectful, abusive, racist, and several of them have known drug addictions themselves.

After 11 years in prison and being incarcerated at 7 others prisons, this place is another world. It's a complete joke. It is close to impossible to get a grievance form and they don't even carry grievance appeal forms. Requests to staff go unanswered. And maintenance issues are rarely resolved - the ventilation for half of D-pod has been completely broken for months in cells with no ability to open the windows. This causes inhumane conditions (extreme heat and extreme cold). Stale air causes sore throats and illness in prisoners. Roughly 50% of cells' cable outlets are out of order and if you pay for cable services and are moved to one of these cells it takes months to be repaired and they refuse to refund the money taken from brothers' accounts. The pigs blatantly lie to give misconducts to prisoners they dislike and are known to discard mail being delivered to these disliked prisoners.

Prisoners who "hustle" by making handmade candy out of mixing assortments of Jolly Ranchers, taffy, sourballs, jellybeans and other candy from commissary and forming it into different shapes are being given drug related misconducts as the security team is claiming the candy tests positive for opioids, because when the candy is placed in the NiK test it changes the color of the water purple. Here's a fact: all Jolly Ranchers contain some combination of colored food dyes most containing purple or a combination that can create purple. The pigs' stupidity is either worse than I thought or they are just finding new ways to be openly vindictive.

And finally the newest issue here at SCI: Chester. At the beginning of the month of November the D.O.C.'s budget cut shut down over 1,000 halfway center beds and rescinded parole from all those who were already paroled to those beds forcing them to stay in prison at SCI: Chester for an undetermined amount of time until the D.O.C. can find places to send them. So even though these brothers completed their prescribed programming, stayed misconduct free and did everything else they needed to do in the eyes of the D.O.C. and were granted parole by the Parole Board and received their green sheets (release papers) they are now subjected to wrongful imprisonment here at good ol' Chester. I ask you brothers at ULK what else could go wrong here? It's so bad brothers are talking about using violence and catching new charges just to get a negative based transfer to ANY other facility possible.

I'm running my communist based anti-imperialist groups here, but what else can I do? I feel helpless and I can't stand seeing my brothers and myself treated like this any longer. I'm asking for any support or answers ULK and any brothers reading this can offer me. The struggle is real.

[Gender] [Abuse] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 57]

Strip Searches Only for Harassment in Pennsylvania

There is no genuine or legal justification for still using strip searches in prisons today, except to breed homosexuality and cause aggressive sexual assaults, using it as a punishment to humiliate someone. I can prove without a doubt that times have changed/evolved and this strip naked prison rule is outdated. Modernized technology has invented what is called x-ray machines, which are used to search/see the body without forcing nude search. Prisoncrats provided prisons with sufficient funds to purchase and provide such x-ray machines. Prison staff, in their sadistic practices and policies to punish captives, refuse to use the x-ray machines for body searches.

Metal detectors are stationed throughout the prison, checkpoints forcing captives to walk through them, in their policy to confiscate any and all illegal metal objects. Captives are never asked if they are allergic to the radiation of the metal detectors or x-ray machines, which explains the prison staff's complete disregard for the physical or psychological effects on the captives.

We captives of the Pennsylvania state prisons ask for legal advice in our desires to sue the Department of Corrections for forcing the strip search policies. We live during advanced technologies and modernized minds, which dictates, strip searches are outdated, violates religious rights, breeds sexual predators, and are methods used to harass, humiliate and harm captives. Not to mention strip searchings are methods used identical to the times of slavery.

If for no other humane reasons, prison strip searches needs to be abolished, eliminated, minimized, because state prisons have been provided with the necessary machinery and manpower to secure prison grounds and facilities. The time is here. We the state captives in Pennsylvania prisons ask any and all judicial scholars and students of civil law, for legal advice, and to petition the courts to abolish all prison strip search policies.

There is the questions raised about prison security being vulnerable, and breached, if the strip search policy is eliminated. Such positions, beliefs or arguments are simply said to continue this long practice of psychological slavery in prisons. When in fact, x-ray machines detect any metal or foreign objects and contraband. Therefore, since state prisons have x-ray machines and metal detectors on facility grounds, it shows any need to search a subject can be done without the need of such said subjects being forced to disrobe, strip naked. Which means, if the metal detectors and x-ray machines they have are not successful to secure the prison facilities, then their machines are obsolete and obtained falsely.

However, if such machines and technologies are vital and essential to the security orders of running the prisons, then strip searchings are deemed obsolete and performed falsely. It is our contention, challenge, calling, that because x-ray and metal detector machines are used, that shows strip searches are no longer needed or necessary. Which proves strip searching are being used simply as a form of the prison's psychological punishments.

The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections state prisons has implemented a new policy against sexual assaults/harassments, called the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). This PREA policy exposes its own ineffectiveness and prejudicial punishment, under the disguise of prosecuting sexual harassment and/or predators. To prove that this new PREA policy has been designed to minimize and eliminate sexual assaults in all of its manifestations on prison grounds, strip searching would also be minimized or eliminated as a means to sexual assaults and sexual harassments on state prison grounds.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer makes an important point: guards use strip searches as a form of gendered power that humiliates and degrades prisoners. But we don't agree that this abuse of power causes guards (or prisoners) to become homosexual. And even if that was possible, it's patriarchal society that teaches people to use gender for power and abuse which is the problem. There is no evidence that any sexual orientation is more predatory than any other. We need to focus on the real enemy here: the patriarchy which trains people to enjoy the abuse of gender power.

Prisoners are in a unique position in that they face gender oppression as a part of their imprisonment. This is true of both male and female prisoners. Strip searches are a good example of this gender oppression. This writer raises a good point about the abuse of power, and specifically gender power, that happens every time there is a strip search. This degrading practice is not for security, as this writer clearly demonstrates.

Identifying this form of oppression and calling it out for people to see is the first step in fighting back. The idea of using PREA to fight strip searches is an interesting approach. We'd like to hear from others who are fighting strip searches about what tactics are and are not working. Ultimately gender oppression in prisons isn't going away while we have a criminal injustice system serving imperialism. The patriarchy is an integral part of this system. But we can sometimes win smaller battles against these forms of humiliation and degradation.

[Release] [State Correctional Institution Forest] [Pennsylvania]

Pennsylvania delaying releases for lack of programs

I am a prisoner in the state of Pennsylvania. When you first get put into a state prison they give you programs you have to do. Yet most of the time you do not even start them until your minimum is just about up. If your minimum does come up and you are still in the program the parole board gives you a hit until you are done with the programs. Yet the prison itself starts us so late into our programs. If our minimum is up and we did not do anything wrong to get a hit we should be able to get out of jail and do the programs on the streets.

They are doing this to just about every prisoner that I know and getting away with it each and every time. We are being held over our minimum for something they are doing.

Me myself I've been on the honor block for the last 3.5 years if not longer. I have 3 years to go until my minimum. Yet I have 2 more programs to do. So I've sent them a request slip asking about the programs. All I have got told was it depends on your minimum. I could be held over my minimum for something they are doing. Yet the programs can be taken on the outside. We may be told to take them all over again. So why should we have to take the programs twice?

[Economics] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 62]

Pennsylvania Spends on Prison, Cuts Other Services

I want to write about my thoughts on prison reform and rehabilitation specifically in the state of Pennsylvania. Prison reform? Criminal "justice" reform? As long as the criminal justice system and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PDOC) remain lucrative industries those things will never happen!

To have any type of reform, I believe people should be held accountable for their misconduct (judges, prosecutors, governors, secretary of corrections, correctional officers, etc.) but that's never the case in Pennsylvania. Here in Pennsylvania, these rural areas in particular, the PDOC is a refuge for the unqualified and uneducated, who don't desire anything better for themselves.

Pennsylvania's state budget is crumbling due to the amount of overtime received by COs and to the excess state employees hired in the PDOC. Governor Wolf announced that he wanted to lay off 900 unneeded state employees and close a few jails because of the budget strain. However, Governor Wolf was opposed (almost violently) by the rural population. Their argument wasn't about the "criminals" that could possibly go free; they were concerned about not finding employment anywhere else. Overwhelmed, Wolf decided to only close one prison (which wasn't in a rural area) and retain the state employees (COs).

Instead of doing what he originally saw fit to do, Wolf was forced to cut back on the Meals on Wheels program, raise the state tax, and allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays amongst other things. As you would figure, all of those cutbacks didn't even begin to alleviate the budgetary stress. Why? Because those things weren't issues.

The fact still exist that there are too many state prison officials being hired and Pennsylvania needs to cut back on this senseless hiring, but Gov. Wolf was pretty much bullied out of action. All of this factors into the lack of prison and criminal justice reform, for if there was someone who could educate the tax payers who honestly believe that their "hard earned" dollars are "keeping their community safe" instead of funding a correctional officer's workers' compensation scam, educate them about where their money is actually going and what needs to be done. If a majority of the tax payers knew the truth about their money, about the funding of our oppression, suppression and torture, I believe that they would be more inclined to demand criminal justice and prison reform.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer provides a good exposure of the interest that prison guard unions and other prison employees have in maintaining or increasing the number of imprisoned people and the number of prisons in the United $tates. And also the political power these workers can exert when their jobs are threatened.

But we have to put this information in a larger context. Prisons are a very small part of state budgets, so it's not the CO overtime causing the Pennsylvania budget to crumble. In the Pennsylvania 2016-2017 budget, 8% went towards prisons.(1) It is good that the budget crisis in Pennsylvania is leading to considerations of closing prisons, but the response by COs and others benefiting from jobs with the prisons is the same we see across the country. Nonetheless, we need to be honest that shutting down a few prisons won't make much of a dent in the state budget.

While we would also like to think that people faced with information about oppression and torture would oppose it, we don't think the terrible conditions in Amerikan prisons are such a big secret. Many Amerikans are vocal in calling for even worse conditions, arguing that prisoners deserve whatever happens to them. And there is little outrage when stories of corruption among prison guards come out. The financial rewards all Amerikans are getting by living here within this wealthy imperialist country has created a population that supports imperialism and its criminal injustice system. While the oppressed nations within U.$. borders do generally come down against the oppression and corruption, the Amerikkkan nation, especially in rural counties, can be counted on to throw its support behind the system.

Penn Live, July 8, 2016. PA spends more on prisons than colleges, report says.
[Abuse] [Gender] [State Correctional Institution Somerset] [Pennsylvania]

Retaliation for PREA Report in PA

I am an incarcerated person in a Pennsylvania Department of Corrections prison named SCI Somerset, located in Somerset, Pennsylvania. An incident happened on 9 January 2017 at 1600 hour count (4pm). The regular 2-10pm Sergeant (Sergeant Baserman) and Officer Reesman were walking past my cell to conduct inmate count. After they passed I needed to use the bathroom, so I turned my back towards my cellmate (so I wouldn't get a write up) and faced the door. The Officer and Sergeant came back around to go up the stairs, which is by my cell. Sergeant Baserman, who was second to go up the steps, stopped on the 3rd step and looked directly over at me. As soon as I noticed I yelled "do you mind I'm using the restroom" the Sergeant continue to watch me until I was finished using the restroom.

Later the same evening I sat down and wrote out what happened and asked to file a PREA report (Prison Rape Elimination Act) against Sergeant Baserman. I placed this in a plain white envelope and addressed it to the PREA Lieutenant, DL Abbott. Three days later I went to be interviewed by Lieutenant Abbott. He stated he was going to pull the camera footage. In the meantime I would be interviewed by the Psych Department to see if mentally I was okay, then interviewed by the Pennsylvania State Police. Within a week I saw both the Psych department and the Pennsylvania State Police. The Pennsylvania State Police said during my interview they couldn't find any video footage but would go back and look again. I heard nothing after that interview.

About a week later I went on writ for court to SCI Benner Township. I was gone for almost a month. The day after I came back I was called up and served with a misconduct. I was written up because they say they couldn't find camera footage and said I made up a story. A week later, I went in front of the hearing examiner S. Wiggins. Despite never having another misconduct on me or even a block card (a negative housing report) and being a model prisoner, this hearing examiner still found me "guilty" and sanctioned me to 30 days cell restriction, which is total confinement away from general population.

My family then emailed the facility PREA Coordinator Mr. Allen Joseph (also a deputy here) asking for his help in regards to this misconduct. A few days later he called me over to an office, along with my unit counselor, and states he had gotten an email from my family and didn't care if we chose to expose the conditions of the prison as my family had stated. He stated also that I deserve the punishment I received. After this meeting I returned to my cell. Let the record reflect, that I was still on the same housing unit with this Sergeant and there had been nothing but retaliation since that with the Sergeant. My family also contacted Central Office for PREA, who also stated this prison is in the wrong.

For the record, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Inmate Handbook, which is given to every prisoner when arriving to their home prison, page 7, section 8, Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) DC-ADM008 number 2, the last sentence reads "you will not be retaliated against for reporting an incident of sexual harassment or for providing witness testimony." This prison has clearly violated this and continues to violate this and many other PA DOC policies. They interpret policies the way they want and enforce them how they want. Even Superintendent Wingard does nothing to help the situations in here and instead helps make it worse by sticking up for his staff whether they are right or wrong. Please take a stand with me and expose these prisons on their intolerable wrongdoings and let them know they can't get away with this. Join with me and take a stand!

MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade exposes what we've heard from other prisoners: the "Prison Rape Elimination Act" or PREA is at best ineffective and at worse turning into a tool for abuse and retaliation against those who attempt to make PREA reports. We need to continue to expose these situations. And we ask our readers to chime in on whether there is a better tactic we should consider to fight these abuses. While we often try to use the law to our advantage, filing reports and lawsuits even when we don't expect to win, we are hearing more stories of retaliation than victories using PREA.

[Abuse] [State Correctional Institution Rockview] [Pennsylvania]

Unity Fights Oppression

It's crazy that I read about abuses in other prisons across Amerikkka. Then it happens to me. On April 15, 2017 at 8:56 at Rockview State Prison in Bellefonte PA I was assaulted maliciously by two racist pigs, using the mental health policy to cover up their mess. On Saturday morning on BB unit at Rockview, which is a RTU block, mostly for mental health patients, I asked an inmate can I use a broom and dust pan. He screams I can't I'll get in trouble, so the CO whose name is Taylor yelled at me "get the fukk in your cell," and I said "why are you talking to me like that." Then he said get the fukkk in ya cell. So I went, then he locked my door with a key.

So I figured I was burnt all day of activities and lunch so I chilled and put a sheet over my door so I could use the bathroom in peace. While I was on the toilet, I saw someone at my door. The two guards came in, Taylor and Stove and closed my door and told me to get up. Didn't even let me wipe my ass. Next thing I know Taylor hit me and struck me on the jaw and followed with a hook to my right eye. I fell to the floor and Stove hit me in the back of my head (lower occipital lobe) and caused a puncture which caused a tennis ball size hematoma to rise in the back of my head. The object he hit me with was a puncher which they make rounds with. CO Taylor whispered in my ear "Told you nigger we was going to get you."

I feared for my life cause they could have killed me and justify it as a suicide attempt. I filed a grievance and I was placed in the A-seg unit. Now I am getting "burnt" for showers, yard, and sometimes food, depending what guards are on. But my argument is not what happeened cause it happens all the time and gets covered up. But I target mental health policies and the lack of independent supervisors to make sure those with mental health problems don't have to be subjected to abuse. Most of the people on my block are so heavily medicated that there's no challenge to abuse by staff. Staff will single out people like me and use me as a target so others will not follow or attempt to challenge them with the pen.

I haven't even been seen by security to report the abuse. Seems like they are hiding, I've made numerous attempts to have a dialogue with the head of security but no attempts have been made by him to contact me. So now I see they are trying to hide something.

Rockview state prison has took up the challenge to become the treatment center of PA prisons. It wants to be the model of excellence on mental health treatment for other prisons to follow. But they know how to manipulate policy to better themselves. one strategy or solution to abuse can be body cameras on guards who have contact with the population of inmates. In this way it could decrease the number of assaults at the hands of guards. And create checks and balances, so we as comrades in prison don't have to be targeted and assaulted by racist guards. And not every assault is a racist attack but of ignorance. But when you're in areas that have been labeled as racist areas in books and films, it places that thought or perception that those working in this prison are just putting on faces for eight hours to leave and go back to their hateful ways. I challenge comrades to think of solutions for prison abuse at the hands of guards, cause grievances is just smoke and mirrors.

They have ways to tear up or misplace grievances but we need to challenge the courts and officials to protect prisoners from abuse. Especially those with mental problems.

[Abuse] [Pennsylvania]

Mail Issues for Migrant Prisoners

I am here in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, and like so few, I try every day to understand the ignorance of not only the staff but also my comrades. They are closed-minded when it comes to life outside the United States and they do not want to listen to some knowledge from someone who is a foreigner, as I am illegal and have no family here in this so-called great country. I really do not see it, as the only thing I came here to do is make money and return back to my homeland with the funds.

As time progressed, I was captured and brought to justice as the newsmedia reported. Well, the reason I'm even writing this is to give someone else the insight and knowledge about how difficult it is to keep in touch with your loved ones outside the United States.

A one-ounce U.S. postal letter costs $1.15 to start with. The Department of Corrections wants you to keep in touch with your loved ones or get a support system, yeah ok. Tell me how, when you can't get a bar of soap to wash yourself, but I'm going to make a telephone call to my loved ones at a rate of $38 for 15 minutes, and the monthly payroll I receive is only $12 a month with 30% of that taken out for court/admin costs.

That then leaves me enough to send one or two letters that never arrive there. They claim that once it leaves the institution, it is up to the U.S. Postal Service. The Department of Corrections charges me for international mail rates but I don't get "return to sender" services with it, and like I just said, sometimes it gets lost in delivery.

Where is my mail going to? When the post office tells me to spend money on tracking numbers, but U.S. mail is not the same as international mail, so once it leaves U.S. waters and then enters international waters, the U.S. tracking number becomes null and void and the money is gone just like the mail.

I am trying my best to learn American English, not only to fight for myself but also the next foreigner that gets in trouble in this so-called great country. So, with no help or support I sit here in the tomb and write in hopes that maybe someone will respond and be able to help me out with the necessary logistics, and moral support, etc.

The ignorance and apathy of some of these so-called Americans eats me inside. Why not try to do better for not just yourself but your loved ones? But they act like there is no future for them.

For all my comrades all over the world, I send my blessings and urge you to never stop the fight & struggle.

[Abuse] [State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh] [Pennsylvania]

SCI-Pittsburgh Shutting Down

I write this letter to report that SCI-Pittsburgh is shutting down due to political reasons. I'm an SRTU (Secured Residential Treatment Unit) prisoner. The SRTU is designed to provide management, programming and treatment for prisoners who exhibit serious mental illness, chronic disciplinary issues, and demonstrate an inability to adapt to a general population setting. According to what Pennsylvania DOC policy states, all inmates are to be transferred to other prisons. The approximate shut down date is June 30, 2017. Staff, officers and prisoners will be relocated between now and June 30.

[Mental Health] [Control Units] [State Correctional Institution Greene] [Pennsylvania]

Mentally Ill Prisoners: the Real Dilemma

It has come to my attention that inmates with serious mental illnesses (SMI) are being abused on a daily basis here at this institution.

The problem lies in what are termed Psychiatric Observation Cell (POC) Overflow here in Restricted Housing Unit (RHU – Solitary Confinement). The POC is basically suicide watch. Per policy, these POC are to be located inside the medical unit, therefore be monitored closely by medical staff and properly trained officers; a hospital-like environment. However, more often than not, the POC in medical is full or has unserviceable cells for whatever reason. Then the first seven cells on FC block are used to house prisoners in need of POC.

The staff are persistent in claiming that the POC overflow cells are the same as POC in medical. Nothing could be further from the truth. These prisoners are treated no differently than prisoners in solitary confinement are treated. Meals are often denied these humyns, and showers are non-existent. Additionally, these prisoners are often the target of prisoners in the other regular cells that house solitary confinement/disciplinary custody, and are verbally abused. If they were housed in POC at medical, they would receive their showers and steps would be taken to ensure they get all their meals and then some.

These inmates are often psychotic and/or suffering from intellectual disabilities. There is a tendency to wreck havoc on prisoners on FC for disciplinary custody (non-POC) being disruptive and a major cause of sleep deprivation. I am firm in my belief that this is done intentionally by the fascists as a means of control. Who can resist when sleep is non-existent? I know that something needs to be done! I thank MIM(Prisons) for giving me an outlet for my frustration at things going on around me. Together we will make change happen!

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