Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Bent County Correctional Facility - Federal

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.

[Drugs] [Bent County Correctional Facility] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 84]

We Want Security, They Want Control

We’ve been having tons of problems here at Bent County Correctional Facility in Colorado. There’s been a surge of drugs and violence, culminating in a murder just last week. Meanwhile, they are attempting to force non-trouble-causing prisoners in the “incentive program” into providing unpaid slave labor by working – normally paid – job assignments for free. They are closing down numerous educational programs, leaving no “incentives” for good behavior.

For some unfathomable reason, they actually promoted the Chief of “Security” (Control) here – the very one who oversaw the increases in drugs, gangs and violence here – to Associate Warden! The problems have continued to get worse since his promotion. I honestly suspect he is behind all the drugs and other contraband coming in here; he is known for his “old school” mentality on running a prison. And what better way to maintain control (NOT secure!) than to keep everyone high and fighting each other, right?

I have had a lot of positive feedback from people here about some of the concepts in the Revolutionary 12 Steps program. I hope to continue spreading the ideas of unity and change around here. I’d like another copy and any other ideas you have for our course fighting addiction. I’ve enclosed a donation of stamps.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Thank you. You should have received another Revolutionary 12 Steps by now. Please continue to send us your successes, failures and lessons learned in fighting addiction and we will share them with others in ULK and via the 12 Step Training Group. While our training program is on hiatus until we can get a skilled trainer to run it again, we will keep everyone who is actively working on this issue informed of any progress on our end.

[Grievance Process] [Censorship] [Abuse] [Private Prisons] [Bent County Correctional Facility] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 79]

CoreCivic Abuse Coverups

We have a lot of issues at this facility, especially with mail delivery delays (policy states the facility has 48 hours from arrival to deliver mail and 72 hours for packages; both can take over a week) and with unnecessary censorship. The Colorado Department of Corrections’ administrative regulations are clearly laid out regarding mail, but this facility often misinterprets or outright ignores those policies.

BCCF is a private-owned (CoreCivic) prison, and despite having a Private Prison Monitoring Unit (PPMU) assigned to monitor the facilities compliance, they more regularly choose to cover for the administration, for whatever reason, instead of holding them accountable in any way. In fact, the former head of PPMU at this facility recently “retired” from DOC and was hired by CoreCivic to a lucrative, high-ranking position (Chief of Unit Management) at this very facility. No potential for conflict of interest there, right?

The grievance procedure is a complete joke around here. Each step of a grievance can take up to 2 months to receive a response, although denying that any issues exist is hardly any sort of helpful response. By the time a DOC employee becomes involved, several months have passed and either they are lied to by facility staff, or they lie to the prisoner. Either way, nothing is done about any real problems.

In my 8+ years at this prison, I have experienced a variety of changes, including now having the third warden in that time frame. In the past year – about the time the current Chief of Security and Warden, and shortly thereafter, the PPMU/Chief of Unit Mgmt., arrived – the level of violence here has skyrocketed. During most of my time here this place had remained largely peaceful, if mismanaged to some degree, however, now that new “security protocols” have been implemented (such as creating two “compounds” from the one, making one dangerously understaffed compound the “High-security” compound), drugs have flooded this facility, despite all incoming mail being photocopied. We can’t even get photos from family anymore. The rest of Colorado DOC facilities are going through “normalization.” This private prison is only normalizing drugs, anger, and violence. With no programs and very limited rec, things will only get worse here.

I constantly encourage everyone around me who will listen to file grievances and write letters to public officials. Even if they do not solve issues in and of themselves, they create and build a record of the abuses at a particular prison, or in a state’s system. “Keep your copies!” Tell family and friends about all of the problems, change public opinion of “us” by being responsible, educated citizens who expect accountability from our government just like everyone else. When something is broken, government just pours more of its stolen money into the problem, never fixing anything (but getting more powerful in the process). We need to expose to the public what a waste the prison system is – in financial and human capital – and discourage anyone from supporting the expansion of such a broken system.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrade’s strategy. We should not have false illusions about reforming the system through grievances or exposure, but we also must come together and practice diligence and build our skills in fighting abuses. By doing so we can build towards real solutions.

[Censorship] [Religious Repression] [Bent County Correctional Facility] [Colorado]

CoreCivic Facility Staff Creating Chaos and Violent Situations, Censoring Mail and Repressing Religion

Hello, I’m a little behind in writing to you all, but I’ve been very busy here lately. This CoreCivic facility is a complete joke, and I’ve been helping several other prisoners file grievances to expose the many First Amendment violations occurring here. Both mail rights and religious rights – amongst a plethora of others – have been under attack by the administration, creating a wide range of negative effects, including anxiety and animosity between both prisoners and staff, fueling addictive habits and behaviors, and out-right violence.

In the month of April, both Muslim prisoners celebrating Ramadan and Jewish prisoners celebrating Passover were openly discriminated against by staff, some nights not being fed until the middle of the night, if at all. Non-Muslim/Jewish prisoners were fed at a normal time, and Easter was not interfered with at all. The entire facility (well, one “compound” at an all-level 3 facility) was locked down for the entire period, and when prisoners asked to speak with a shift commander or other ranking officers, they were told by low-level (and low-class, low-intellect, low-moral, etc…) C.O.’s that no one was available and that they were instructed to ignore Jews & Muslims. Some C.O.’s even yelled derogatory things at prisoners locked in their cells, further exacerbating an already chaotic situation. Many grievances were filed in order to document these abuses.

The broader First Amendment issue here involves mail. All mail here has been photocopied (poorly) for nearly 6 months, despite the regulation clearly stating the policy as only allowing photocopying all mail for 3 months. The Security Chief here – a ___ if I’ve ever seen one – insists he can do anything he wants. I can assure you, security is being undermined by this policy.

First of all, the levels of violation here has skyrocketed in the past 6 months, far beyond anything I’ve seen in my 8 years at this facility. Although this is technically a Level 3 (medium) prison, most of the population actually have Level 1 or 2 points, and are overridden to a Level 3 due to length of sentence or other factors. However, “security” has been tightened to a degree that is so restrictive many prisoners are simply “snapping”.

No one can get a photo or card, much less a handwritten letter, from family or friends. No meaningful programs are available. Units are difficult to schedule. Rec is apparently optional and random. And now these clowns are separating the facility into a “high” and a “low” side, but the short-staffing here, not to mention incompetence, is making everyone act out. Not good for “security”.

Oftentimes mail, when it is actually allowed (even the copies) is misdelivered to the wrong cells, or even the wrong units/pods. This creates an entirely different security problem, exposing the names and addresses of prisoners’ families to other prisoners, who aren’t always decent people. Not to mention the obvious exposure of sensitive information in letters or other mail (I’m sure some snitch would love to get a hold of my ULK!) All of these “security measures” are ostensibly intended as a response to the “spice epidemic” in prisons, however, nothing is being done about the minuscule percentage of prisoners receiving contraband. The mail room is more busy photocopying and searching for what might be the shadow of a nipple in a magazine or photo than they are looking for drugs. Isn’t the purpose of a mailroom to look for actual dangerous contraband? So why do they get a pass on not finding the actual dangerous contraband supposedly coming in?! BTW, nothing at all is being done about the cops who actually bring drugs in; don’t worry, they’re blocking all the mail…

These are just a couple of examples of the many issues here at BCCF. CoreCivic is a cancer that needs to be cut out of the tumor that is the mass incarceration system. Eben though Colorado DOC has a “Private Prison Monitoring Unit” (PPMU), the head of that unit at this facility recently got bought off (officially – he’s been carrying water for CoreCivic for years) and is now the Chief of Unit Management here at BCCF. No conflict of interest there, right?

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