Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Pennsylvania Prisons

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www.prisoncensorship.info is a media institution run by the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. Here we collect and publicize reports of conditions behind the bars in U.$. prisons. Information about these incidents rarely makes it out of the prison, and when it does it is extremely rare that the reports are taken seriously and published. This historical record is important for documenting patterns of abuse, and also for informing people on the streets about what goes on behind the bars.

We hope this information will inspire people to take action and join the fight against the criminal injustice system. While we may not be able to immediately impact this particular instance of abuse, we can work to fundamentally change the system that permits and perpetuates it. The criminal injustice system is intimately tied up with imperialism, and serves as a tool of social control on the homeland, particularly targeting oppressed nations.

[Organizing] [National Oppression] [Pennsylvania]
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Unite for change

I am a prisoner in Texas and a member of the ALKQN. I want to shed some light on those who are members of my beloved nation and to those who are prisoners or in the struggle. It is time we unite to judge the oppressor and his ways. We must no longer stand asleep not knowing that for so long we been letting the oppressor keep us as subjects, where our minds are programmed to do what he says.

We must start by awaking our people to realize that we can make a change in our communities and in the court system. We must also have the will to stop selling drugs to our people, because we are killing them with the oppressors ways. For every minority that catches a drug/murder case the oppressor sells them to a prison, or should I say one of these industrial complext warehouse, to get rich. So when are we going to change for the betterment of ourselves? The question lies within you!

I'm not just talking to my King brothers or Queen sisters. I'm talking to every person who belongs to an organization or is just independent. I ask that we stop dwelling on yesterdays and start thinking about tomorrows, because our time to change things is now. I also ask that whoever reads these newsletters start educating yourselves by getting a GED, business degree or degree in anything. Also to start learning the law, so we can teach our families and children on how to not be subjects to the oppressor and his system, but to beat his system within their own laws and rules. Let's stand united as a whole sun and shine our powers into the mission of human service for if we put our minds together we shall accomplish many goals to live in freedom.

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[Organizing] [State Correctional Institution Camp Hill] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 10]
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Hunger Strike at Camp Hill

I just received my first issue of Under Lock and Key #9 and I must say that I share the same views as my fellow soldiers. I am currently serving time at Huntingdon in the RHU unit. And I wanted to share some of the struggles that me and my fellow soldiers are being subjected to here at this RHU unit.

Me and some of the soldiers that are here with me just came off a hunger strike. We were being subjected to all kinds of oppression: cold food, small portions, people were finding insects and mouse droppings in the food. So we decided to go on a hunger strike. Out of almost 40 people who are here on a quad only about 15 went through with the movement. It's crazy how we are quick to punch each other in the face or stab each other, but when it comes to standing up to these oppressors we fold and let them do whatever they want. They burn us for our rec, food, showers, etc. We place grievances to no avail.

When we speak up about these oppressions they write us up and give us more DC time. Then, to top everything off the hearing examiner here is one of the officers who was assaulted in the Camp Hill riot. Now how can you place someone like that in power? It's simple because when you go in front of him you are automatically guilty weather you are innocent or not. Even if it's blatantly clear that you are innocent it won't matter.

To all my soldiers, know that if you don't stand for something you'll fall for anything, and we need to stand together.

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[Culture] [Pennsylvania]
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The pain of awakening

Dear God,

I write you this letter from the depths of hell where I have been sentenced to a life of misery and pain. I curse you for opening up my third eye to a rude awakening and destroying the elaborate illusion I had created for myself. You, like a thief, have robbed me of that blissful state of not knowing and I want it back you omnipotent sadist.

You have tricked me. You have tricked me into becoming conscious, so you can laugh and enjoy yourself while I wallow in pain and loneliness as the truth slowly manifests itself to me.

I envy those I left behind, how happy they look as they sit in front of that one eyed monster, as it illuminates images of Hip Hop rappers who exploit bikini clad wimmin.

I want to be like you and laugh at the pain of ignorant people, watching them beat each other up on TV shows like Jerry Springer. I want to be a part of that crowd that cheers on Amerikkka as she invades helpless countries, raping and murdering innocent people under the guise of freedom.

I'm tired of people looking at me like I'm the one who's crazy because I refuse to conversate with snitches, who sold their soul to the prosecutors for mere crumbs. I want to be like other people and talk about basketball and football games instead of being a recluse in my cage reading revolutionary papers and thinking how to form a mass struggle behind these walls.

I want the same elated look of happiness of my face like those prisoners who play dominoes and cards all day without a worry in the world, oh how good that must feel.

I no longer want to feel the repulsive emotion known as love, which only weakens me when I expect it from people, only to be disappointed.

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[Abuse] [State Correctional Institution Huntingdon] [Pennsylvania]
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Filth and Retaliation in PA

I'd like to expose the abuses and misconducts of correctional staff here at SCI Huntingdon. I begin with conditions of confinement. I am surrounded by vermin as well as roaches. Although the institution provides an exterminator service, the infestation is a continuing dilemma. Cells are generally too cold. I usually have to wear 2 pairs of socks, 2 shirts, and my jumpsuit just to barely keep warm. At times I must wear this while utilizing a blanket just to sleep.

Lights are kept on 24 hours a day. The toilet is on a timer, and if you flush too quickly you must wait for the timer to reset. Not exactly comfortable if you have a cell partner! Food is generally served cold. Trays usually have water or condensation around them because they sit for long periods of time before being served. Water seeps into food posing health risks. Although Department of Corruptions directives state that RHU prisoners shall have the same portions; portions are not equal to those of the general population.

Clothes is laundered once a week and if you have a cell partner you must use the same laundry bag. Clothes generally come back dirty! Correctional staff liked to "burn" or not provide trays or yard periods to those who they pick on, although DOC policy forbids such retaliation. Grievances are addressed, but the rationales do not specifically address issues cited and the specific issue is generally ignored. If you are served with a misconduct report, the hearing examiner is not impartial at times known to say that he believes his officers over the prisoner. Clearly a statement made by someone who is biased. The Program Review Committee is basically the same way.

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[Organizing] [Pennsylvania]
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Fight Keefe Food Group Corruption

boycott Keefe foodsWe are bring to the attention of the masses in the gulags and amongst the populace the corporate monopoly of the Keefe Food Group over Corrections Institutions in North Amerikkka. The Keefe Group is a subsidiary of the Centric Group LLC. It appears that this conglomerate has exclusive lucrative contracts throughout county, state and federal systems.

The corruption and abuses experienced by prisoners nationwide is well known to those of us who are subjugated to the system. However such practices under imperialism are not limited to the Prison Industrial Complex. Therefore, a just fight against Keefe Food Group and its parent company, Centric Group LLC, in these concentration camps can have direct cross appeal to the citizens in society who are battling wall street predators in banking and housing markets.

We are calling on readers of MIM(Prisons) Under Lock & Key to write Keefe Group in their county, state or federal prisons. We are asking people to compile a list of the prison's commissary prices along with any lawsuits or other documented abuses by Keefe Group. If any prisoners have had success with terminating the Keefe Group monopoly in their state system we would like to know the details of it and how the victory was achieved.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this call to collect information and launch coordinated battles against companies benefiting off the oppression of prisoners. However, a Marxist analysis of Amerikan society reveals that it, like other imperialist countries, is comprised primarily of labor aristocrats. These are people who are not exploited but rather are benefiting from the spoils of imperialist exploitation. Because of this benefit, even in economic downturn they have financial interests tied up with capitalism and so will continue to support the system. Certainly this may not be the case forever, and as imperialism weakens it may have to turn back to exploiting people at home, but for now, the imperialist country citizens are not likely to ally with prisoners based for economic reasons alone as is implied in this article.

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[Control Units] [Pennsylvania]
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Restricted Release in Pennsylvania

Restricted Release is exactly what it says it is: a placement on a segregated list of prisoners who are restricted from being released to any general population for an indefinite amount of time. The practice is being implemented in complete violation of due process laws.

Placement on restricted release is to begin at the institutional level within a PRC (Program Review Committee) recommendation. That recommendation is then forwarded to the superintendent where it is approved/disapproved before being sent to the Regional Deputy Secretary of Corrections for review. If he/she concurs with the recommendation it is then submitted to the Secretary of Corrections (currently Jeffrey A. Beard) and approved. NO prisoner on the restricted release list can be transferred or released to general population without the written consent of Jeffrey A. Beard.

DOC Policy states that an inmate shall be informed and given a summary of his placement on A/C restricted release. Upon the initial placement the prisoner has the opportunity to appeal verbally or in writing within two days to the superintendent. This right to appeal is the due process. However, the institutions are conducting these hearings in private without the prisoner being present, therefore denying any opportunity to refute or appeal such placement. In addition, whenever you do attempt to appeal it's being denied for unspecified reasons. I am currently on the list, and to date, I have never attended a hearing informing me, nor do I have anything in writing alluding to my placement. Everything said to me was told informally.

The Restricted Release is basically 23 hour lock down with assumed privileges at their discretion. Policy states that it should not be interpreted as punishment. Still, this institution in particular fails to adhere to that policy, and the few of us here are being denied any additional privileges. Radios and commissary, but no TVs. In addition to this- all of our stories are similar in that none of us received hearings, nor were we able to appeal our status.

It's similar to the Gitmo concentration facility in Cuba, where individuals are taken hostage because of their dress attire, religion, ethnicity and beliefs. No criminal charges or solid evidence to justify the displacement. Prisoners sit on the Restricted Release list for an average of 8 years. It is not a program that involves any therapy or counseling - it's just confinement until either your age or strength diminishes your will.

To my understanding there are 4 of us housed at this institution and we are all contacting family and comrades for additional support in our litigation.

Despite all of this my spirit remains strong as ever, and I only pray that I become a stronger individual when, and if it's all over. I truly appreciate your literature and commitment to our cause.

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[Organizing] [State Correctional Institution Camp Hill] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 9]
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Mao's Combat Liberalism Very Relevent in PA Prisons

I am writing to let you know that I received Under Lock & Key November 2008 (#5). It seems like the prison might have kept the newspaper for a while like they always do. Anyway, it is very enlightening and helpful. The "Combat Liberalism" essay by Mao Zedong really did touch home because here at SCI Camp Hill SMU there are a lot of prisoners that claim to be political prisoners and against oppression and these degrading, diabolical establishments. But when they see plainly a fellow prisoner being harassed or oppressed through their meals, mail, showers, or yard or something, they all just fall back and say "well it's not us, so it's not my business." This is nauseating. I mean it's to the point where they witness the officers here assaulting a fellow prisoner, again these so-called political minded prisoners against oppression to these diabolical establishments do not do a thing but just fall back and submit to this wickedness and repeat their same hypocritical mottos. As long as it is not happening to them they're fine, cool But let it happen to one of them, then they're up screaming "oppression" and "we as a people."

The fifth type and eighth type from Combat Liberalism are totally on point and we see these just about every day here. The fifth: "to indulge in personal attacks, pick quarrels, vent personal spite or seek revenge instead of entering into an argument and struggling against incorrect views for the sake of unity or progress or getting the work done properly." And the eighth type: "To see someone harming the interests of the masses and yet not feel indignant or dissuade or stop him or reason with him, but to allow him to continue." These two types again stood out and touched home.

The officers here keep coming onto the SMU pod here and poisoning people's minds and keeping individuals bickering and fighting amongst themselves, it's insane. There is not much unity here, thanks to the officers divide and conquer tactics. But who am I to say all of this - they've labeled me an irrational delusional psychopath!

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[Abuse] [Pennsylvania]
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Disciplinary policy torture

We have been engaging in nonviolent protest because certain individuals (pigs) wish for the capital case population to fall under disciplinary status, for punishment, when they haven’t committed any infractions against the institution.

For instance, on March 15th 1998, Supt Varner implemented a disciplinary policy that forced us in one day to ship all personal property, except for what could fit in one box. We were told we are now on D status. No more food items, no 6 hour visits, no sneakers, boots, and only cosmetics would be soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and toothbrush. We had to stop eating in order to get the media attention and people on the outside to help us. We were restored all privileges.

Then we had to face the matter of access to legal property. They wanted us to have access once a month when we needed access every week. They gave us access once a week after we stopped eating again.

Then, in September 2001 we had to stop eating once again because Supt Stickman wanted us to fall under the torture policy of sleeping with the lights on 24 hours a day. This is a disciplinary tactic that’s designed for population prisoners to stop committing infractions against the institution. We requested our own policy separately from Restricted Housing Unit (RHU), so we could be distinguished from disciplinary tactics. They gave us our own policy and exempted us from being punished with the light being on in our cells 24 hours a day.

Now on May 14, 2009, captain Walker and Unit Manager Guyton decided to place capital case population back under disciplinary policy by turning on the lights in our cells for 24 hours a day. We are asking that Deputy Martin, Captain Walker and Unit Manager Guyton be removed from handling capital cases because they’re responsible for placing us under disciplinary policies. Finally, Mr. Guyton issued a policy that will not permit us to wear hats to cover our heads during inclement weather.

We are asking for your assistance in helping us bring awareness to the ongoing punishment tactics. We ask that a letter, email, phone call or fax be sent to Jeffrey Beard the DOC Secretary of Prisons, Supt Louis S. Folino, and Ernest D. Preate Jr.

Ernest D. Preate
Mellon Bank Bldg.
400 Spruce St, Suite 300
Scanton, PA 81503
570-558-5970
570-558-5973
(contact him to contact Jeffrey Beard DOC Secretary of Prisons for us)

Supt Louis S. Folino
175 Progress Dr.
Waynesburg, PA 15370
724-852-2902

Secretary Jeffrey Beard
Dept of Corrections
PO Box 598
2520 Lisburn Rd.
Camp Hill, PA 17001-0598

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[Organizing] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 9]
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Lumpen Organizations and Revolutionary Organizing

As a young revolutionary, I find myself coming up on 10 years of being an Almighty Latin King member. It has had its ups and downs, but it's made me into the brother that is sitting here writing these words. Sometimes, I find myself getting mad when I read MIM's newsletter and somebody writes talking about they were x gang members. Why would a person have to leave all they believe in for years to change their life? If I would have to leave my nations to make a change for the better, these last 10 years of my life would have been nothing but a lie. I don't look at the ALKQN as a gang, because I've never in my 10 years gangbang'd or put on colors, but that doesn't mean I haven't made mistakes as a man. I've been coming to Amerika's concentration camp for a better part of my life. I've learned how to read and write here, and how to be a man. If not for the ALKQN I would still be a lost soul, deaf, dumb and blind just like the imperialists like us.

When I read ULK and hear of brothers in New Jersey who are teaching other Kings and the UBN how to read and write and not just passing XXL and Vibes around, that's what Kingism is all about. Not gangbanging. Me being from Brick city I know first hand how the NJDOC is, so my love goes out to all your comrades in the GU no matter what your affiliations are. You don't have to stop being you to stay out of prison, don't let them fool you young brother.

As one of the most revolutionary brothers of our beautiful island once said (Albizu Campos), "Despierta Boricua!; Defiende lo tuyo!"

MIM(prisons) responds: We learn things throughout our lives that lead us to make changes in what we think and do. Learning about revolutionary politics and moving out of a Lumpen Organization (LO) to be involved in revolutionary organizing does not make one's history a lie. Some comrades working with MIM(Prisons) stay with their LOs and some choose to leave when they come into revolutionary politics. These decisions are often based on what their LOs are into, and what the individual comrades think they can accomplish as a member. If a person is a part of an LO that is not supportive of anti-imperialist work, it may be time to move on from that LO. On the other hand, we respect those comrades who want to stay with their LOs and promote anti-imperialism within the group. There are important roles for both approaches.

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[Release] [National Oppression] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 8]
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Pennsylvania Building Prisons to Create Jobs

Governor Edward Rendell brought casinos and slot machines to Pennsylvania and now wants to turn PA into a prison state. He wants to add 8,000 more beds to PA plantations by the year 2013. Even with the fact that three different police districts falsified reports to get warrants, planted evidence, and paid informants to set up and testify against people, some of whom had no criminal records. Rendell noted that of the 31,000 people on parole in Pennsylvania in 2007, 95% did not commit new crimes, yet he suspended parole.

The governor has eliminated 20 educational programs including the Scranton State School for the Deaf, the Scotland School for Veteran's Children in Franklin County, and the Schools of Excellence. The Library subsidy was cut by $1.75 million dollars. The governor cut $205 million from the education budget. The Justice Department's budget is currently $23.9 billion dollars and that's not including the salaries for 50,000 more police officers, the salaries for 2000 more border patrol agents, and not including the $1.4 billion for deporting illegal aliens who are convicted of crimes, and minus the $75 million dollars for job training for ex-cons released from prison.

There are 63 positions that convicted felons can not have. Once an individual serves their time, there shouldn't be any chains upon them. These uninsured Americans have to start over. Many have no savings accounts, homes, or any other property to fall back on. Now labeled as dangerous criminals who can't find work, they end up in homeless shelters or back in prison.

The prison business is booming in PA. Three new prisons are currently under construction and a fourth prison will break ground in 2010. That is on top of plans to add 860 beds to four operational institutions, plus an additional 1,600 beds at 10 more prisons before 2010. The Governor wants 8,000 more beds by 2013 because the prison industry has proven to be so very lucrative in PA. In January 2009, the prison population was at 49,215. It will surpass 50,000 before 2010 because the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole aren't releasing prisoners when they reach their minimums.

Why are fewer prisoners being released on parole? It's a conspiracy! Population control! Whose population does PA legislators want to control? The Pennsylvania Legislature has burned through $5.8 million dollars of tax payer money so far on legal fees and other expenses stemming from an investigation into staff bonuses and the misappropriation of public resources. House Democrats spent $2.6 million. Senate Republicans spent $1.4 million, and House Republicans spent $1.8 million. We have a $1.75 trillion dollar federal deficit because of all our wasteful spending.

The disparity in prison sentences between white people convicted of crimes and Black people convicted of the same crimes would suggest that Africans in America are under attack. In the past their birthright was stolen via the slave trade. Today, this modern day slavery is accredited to unjust laws. Just as slavery was once legal in this country, you can buy stock in the prison industry on Wall Street. The price tag for all this construction is $862 million dollars and the bidding for the jobs this prison will create is effective immediately.

The quickest way to create jobs is to build a prison. The state prison population increased by 10,783 in 2008. Two-thirds of them were nonviolent offenders. At this rate the prison population will be at 60,000 within five years. Tougher sentencing laws are sending younger people to prison with longer sentences. Take a look at who is running the prisons and who are being put in the prisons and how long they're confined. The slave traders plan for their children to work alongside of them and they also plan for prisoners to be confined with their children. With the substantial amount of time prisoners are forced to serve, the prisoners who will be released are those who were forced to max out. Their ages range from 40 to 60 years old when they get out.

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