Phone Zap Tomorrow to Support NC Strikers!
Boycott Juneteenth: End Mass Incarceration and Solitary
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.
I began a Juneteenth protest in April on the 23rd. I went on hunger strike on the 28th, but broke it 2 days later to get my strength up after being threatened by Sergeant Couper.
19 May 2022 – I began a second hunger-strike for 8 days. On the 3rd day of the strike, I was taken to a dirty holding cell in receiving – with ants, no bunk, and poop caked up inside a broken toilet. I was only allowed a bible, one sheet, and one blanket. They placed the old raggy mattress on the floor where I was to sleep for the next 5 days.
No incoming or outgoing mail; no human contact; no offer of food; and no vital-signs, weight, or sugar was checked (nurses documented false reports). May 23rd, in medical, when the nurse asked why I wasn’t eating, I told them, “because it’s ‘George Floyd Day’, Get Your Knees Off Our Necks.”
26 May 2022 – I went on S.I.B. [self injury behavior watch] and was given an even worse mattress that smelled of feces. No one checked on me.
27 May 2022 – I was shipped to the Emergency Room at Central Prison. A level-one bone-marrow cancer had intensified the damage to my body. Some negotiations were made and I broke the fast. However, while I was on the IV a nurse came in at shift change and snatched the IV out of my arm and told me and my officers to get out.
April 23rd, I was attacked by Sgt Couper because I had asked for a roll of tissue (I had been asking for 24 hours). Sergeant Couper said he needed to search my room for tissues then pulled out his mace and tried to find an excuse to mace me. When I cuffed up he resorted to violence by snatching my arms all the way out the trap, then opened the door and threw me head-first into the back wall, then applied torture techniques, such as bending my fingers & choke holds, while tightening the restraints.
I was eventually taken to receiving and left on the floor with the restraints for 4 hours. I had lost feeling in my arms, wrists, and shoulders.
Sergeant Couper continues to harass and retaliate against us; intercepting grievance appeals and managing investigations for disciplinary reports that he has officers fabricate against us. But “We Reap What We Sow”. On 9 June 2022, he got served!
“Power to the People”
By the United Front “T.R.U.C.E.” of the People’s Army
T.R.U.C.E. (Teams of Revolutionaries Uniting to Combat the Enemy)
MIM(Prisons) adds: On 30 June 2022 there was a phone/email zap to Granville Correctional Institution to support the strikers and to call for an end to the physical abuse by Sergeant Couper. Staff responded by saying that Warden Roach was not in that day to take calls and that there was no physical abuse going on there. Emails to the Warden and Director of Operations were not responded to.
There’s been a shortage of staff on super-max. One reason being too many prisoners are in S.I.B. (self injury behavior) watch and must be monitored. Once observation and receiving cells are filled to capacity then guards must (individually) sit outside the housing cells of any other prisoner on S.I.B.
From experience in what may have been S. White’s 1st successful protest in 2019 Oct, outside support via phone zap was effective. All morning this tied up the prison’s phone line until the prison took the phone off the hook. The outside supporters then phone zapped Raleigh. So Raleigh called the prison asking why the phones were off the hook.
There was 9 to 16 comrades in the prison on hunger strike and multiple people on S.I.B. By lunch 5 comrades were called by Captain Henderson to receiving and asked what they wanted. All of us already had grievances being processed about other things. S. White also sent copies of an anonymous missive to the administration with the policies that were being breached.
For the memorial celebration of the Juneteenth we are participating in the traditional fast (meal refusal) for breakfast and lunch; and 10-20 S.I.B.s.
At North Carolina’s HCAU we want phone calls (iPad), TV news (iPad), spider-free outside recreation cages built large enough for more than one person, more food, real hygiene, heater fixed for winter, sally-port swept and mopped at least once a month, lights off in the day time, and case workers and fee recommendations for release from HCON on or after the second 6 month term (infraction free). Feel free to add to the list (every grievance will differ reflecting the demands of each comrade).
We’ll like to have outside support phone zap at this institution. Write MIM to stay updated. We do not expect any assistance from any boot-licking reactionaries satisfied with the man and any conditions of solitary confinement. Shall your days be numbered.
Today at Polk Correction Institution the prep-team beat a young man in full restraints named Mr. Fox as he screamed for help during a shake-down: video surveillance was not provided.
15 March 2021, a few weeks before the killing of Andrew Brown by Pasquotank Sheriff’s Department, I was maced, tased, beat, and nearly killed by almost 20 Pasquotank C.O.s. The beating occurred in 6 different locations in the building including 3 elevators. I received several life lasting injuries to the head, face, and mouth from being punched and kicked over a hundred times while laying flat on the ground on my stomach and/or side. A chunk of meat was ripped out of my shoulder from being dragged over 50 ft. I was choked while beaten til they thought and asked one another if I was dead.
Another official cut my thumb with a switch blade and I received several other injuries that medical refused to treat or document. The officers said, “they’ll be back to beat me every chance they get and that I better not eat.”
I was emergency shipped, and 3 hours later pictures were taken of my injuries when I arrived at Polk Correctional Institution (High-Risk-Security).
Pasquotank Prison Officials deny to have ever touched me and claim their innocence while not even bothering to explain how my injuries were sustained. The disciplinary officer found that the video footage of the incident had been tampered with and cut-short.
18 October 2021, all mail for North Carolina prisoners will be received at TextBehind in Phoenix, MD with long time promises of iPads in the future. Should department of public safety provide proper video surveillance for safety before iPads for profit and entertainment? Surveillance is critical to maintain and monitor unwanted violence.
Relief in the claim I’ve filed against Pasquotank Correctional Institution include that the courts enforce a policy with an injunction ordering hand-held cameras be used when escorting offenders or using force in blind spots.
Unfortunately, body-cams in prison make it harder for guards to smuggle contraband or have relations which would decrease the rate of violence from drug related issues allowing more prisoners to focus on rehabilitation and money management.
With this we would ask for higher pay rates to support our families and conjugal visits for married couples.
Prayers out for the family of Andrew Brown and the victims of police brutality.
For a full report of Pasquotank Prison Incident, see: “Two Letters From North Carolina Prisons Make the Same Demands 45 Years Apart.”
MIM(Prisons) adds: In the last issue of Under Lock & Key one of our comrades addressed the use of tablets to pacify and surveil the oppressed in A Strategic Objective to Disrupt and Surveil the Communication Between Prisoners and Our Loved Ones. The article above connects this to the many campaigns prisoners have waged to get cameras in prisons so that there is documentation of the regular abuse and illegal happenings that go on inside.
In 2014, comrades in North Carolina won a lawsuit to [require staff of NCPDS to record with video cameras any use of force incidents]((https://www.prisoncensorship.info/article/north-carolina-prisoners-preliminary-victory-on-use-of-force-lawsuit/). This suit however, left it up to the pigs to determine when cameras need to be used. As AK47 asks, if the state is to invest more money in technology, shouldn’t it be on this important task of preventing physical abuse and drug trafficking, both of which leads to the loss of humyn lives?
We can also take lessons from the implementation of universal cameras, including audio recording, in California which brought up concerns of excessive monitoring of prisoners, including in counseling and rehabilitation programs. Just last year, another lawsuit in California brought a federal court order requiring body cameras in Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in California, resulting in passive protests from staff in the form of not running programs for prisoners.
Modern surveillance and communication technology can be used for good and for bad, for the interests of the oppressed or the interests of the oppressor. The interests of the oppressed lie in holding the state accountable for the rampant abuse and drug dealing its employees commit every day, while being able to maintain connections to society, engaging in rehabilitation programs where they can speak freely and openly. The interests of the state lie in pacifying the population with pop culture media and surveilling the communication of those who cannot be pacified.
There’s been a substantial amount of reports on increases in depression and mental health disorders in the United $tates due to the shelter-in-place orders. In September, Time Magazine cited a study that showed severe depression being reported by 5.1% of people, up from 0.7% before the pandemic. The common explanation for this increase is social isolation combined with uncertainty and fear. Yet we have a prison system that regularly uses more extreme forms of social isolation (for example no internet, and being locked down in a literal cage), uncertainty and fear and people often look at the people in these prisons as being mentally ill. In reality, we are seeing a massive experiment on the larger society that shows this is how most people react in the conditions we face in prison. So what does it mean to be mentally ill, if this is socially induced?
It means this place will drive you crazy. If not by having hardly any contact with the opposite sex, then by isolation in a small cell (including being allowed 3 showers a week and an hour of recreation outside your cell 5 days a week). This is not normal and causes abnormal effects.
As you sit in your dwelling long enough you become a different person. You may find yourself venting or doing things you normally wouldn’t do, like burning down your cell or town.
A person may go a period of time without speaking. An elderly self-disciplined person may stay quiet, longing, but when one does break their silence they will talk for an hour or two until they burn themselves out. This will usually occur once a day in conditions where there’s only one person to talk to, as it is an HCON (high) Control Purpose.
Others began to talk to spirits and demons. In some cases, this is stimulated by them making up stuff in their mind, but there are also diagnosed paranoid prisoners who scream every time the light cuts on and they open their eyes. They also fight demons.
Solitary confinement can also lead to suicide, as an escape. There have been people committing reactionary suicide, like Biscuit from the movie Life, when he ran across the gun line because he “couldn’t go on living.” Psychologists don’t even bother to get to know who you are or talk you through your problems. They either give you some drugs to experiment with or decline to help you altogether. They are unconcerned that abused children are liable to grow up with an attachment disorder which doesn’t necessarily require medication but does require TLC, which a half-dozen psychiatrists can’t provide for the 1200 prisoners here.
On Segregation we receive even less communication with our families who can provide that loving sanctuary and keep us sane, because we have no phone and only one non-contact visit a month (we should be able to receive more TV visits).
Our families mail is sometimes held for a month after it arrives at the prison. This creates depression by worrying about our families and why they haven’t written over the holidays, to later find out devastating news from our loved ones. Talk about fear and uncertainty.
Some people become anti-social in solitary confinement for different reasons. One reason may be that after so much chaos and falling out with people around them in distress, they began to fall back from everyone.
Others find themselves through self-discipline and block out all other worldly distractions to work on their goals.
Some stressed adolescents in solitary confinement turn towards music as escape and begin to sing lyrics at the top of their lungs, others find refuge and entertainment in woofing. With all this racket going on in Restrictive Housing, it will drive a perfectly sane person insane and into an insomniac.
At Polk Correctional Institution in North Carolina on supermax (or HCON, High Risk Security) we don’t go outside because the officials will trash your cell, steal your property, fully restrain you with your hands behind your back connected to chains around your waist, and leave you in a recreation cage with giant brown recluse spiders, all to deter you from going outside again. Similar tactics are practices here at Central Prison.
The air in the building is insufficient for a human being to breathe at times and I’ve experienced shortness of breath. Compare that to wearing a mask that you can easily remove if you choose.
Comrades at that camp have developed bone marrow cancer, and there is probably cause to expect that this cancer may have been caused by the contaminated water they were working in. There was also strong gasoline type chemicals in the food that was being served at the time.
Right now at Central Prison our lunch consists of one bologna and cheese sandwich, 2 crackers and a 2oz (1/4 cup) of fruit with a juice packet every day. Dinner’s no better, and staff will fight and curse you if you speak out, because they have PTSD and other disorders themselves from war, childhood and other experiences. In this way, mental health patients (the staff) are responsibly for the well-being of other mental health patients.
There’s a mental health program called T.D.U. for patients on RHCP (Restrictive Housing Control Purposes) that they can send you to where you can slowly earn privileges like television, canteen, phone, being allowed to come out of your cell, but they never send any New Afrikans to the programs.
By contrast, RHCP pods have 16 cells each, and I have never seen more than 5 non-color people at a time in any pod. At HCON there are four blocks each with two tiers that hold 12 cells each. I have never witnessed more than 2 non-color people on any tier at a time during the 2 years I spent there.
If a non-colored comrade gets in a scuffle on the yard at Central Prison, they may receive a week or two in segregation, but a negro will receive 12-18 months on RHCP. Right now, we are receiving more time at Central Prison on RHCP than prisoners at Polk CI on HCON who spend only 10 months on HCON, but after they do their HCON at Polk CI, Polk may hold them for 6-12 months on RHCP.
Some people haven’t been guilty of any charges to be placed on RHCP or HCON, so Classification will lie and forge paperwork (no due process). They are con artists who don’t follow their own laws.
The ill-treatment we receive from the institution only creates more PTSD and brings unnecessary bad energy towards people. Workers should be focused on taking care of their families and not risking their lives to oppress others for no gain, but of their master’s amusement.
This room becomes our life. At Polk CI on HCON our cells have showers with food being delivered to their doors, and some guys never want to leave. Some people aren’t going home and to some poor men on the street, incarceration provides 3 meals a day. In the County jail I’ve seen people live in the hole and refuse to leave on numerous occasions.
Solitary confinement is the only place I’ve seen a man smear shit everywhere including his face, and eat shit sandwiches. Tell me this is normal and something you see people do. Thankfully they finally sent this particular prisoner to the mental hospital where he may get some help (and not get thrown in a cage for sleeping in some bushes on public property because he’s a poor New Afrikan man who was stripped of his assets).
Comrades, we are not ourselves behind the door, so I’ll leave you with the words a knowledgeable man left with me:
No 2 men get along without respect.
July 30th. I went on a hunger Strike to not only motivate but avoid a group demonstration charge. The next day eight more people in our pod went on hunger strike and two in another pod, followed by four other people who went on S.I.B. (self-injury behavior) and some floods occurred in opposite pods.
Outside supporters called down here at Scotland NC Correctional Institution all day until around 9:00 at night tying up the phone lines.
Captain Henderson's name was heard all day over the intercom. She had me and three other guys strip searched and placed in a holding cell to have a meeting where we asked for recreation five times a week, the 90 day phone call policy to be activated, food requirements to be met and access to more than one library book a month.
The next day the whole pod was searched and torn apart. They threw away our pictures of our family members—some of whom may have passed away—and took books, contact information and destroyed whatever they chose. One European guy who didn't participate in the strike was forced out of the pod and taken to medical. On the way there he was punched in the face. In receiving he was jumped by Sgt. Sims, Off. Veto and a few other staff members.
When the victim they attacked returned to the pod, they escorted him in a wheelchair. He was tied down and had red gashes and bruises on his face and body and they left him in his cell with nothing to wear but a pair of boxers, socks and sandals. He had been beaten with a nightstick and they refused to give him medical treatment or take pictures of any of his injuries.
DPS doesn't consider it a hunger strike until you refuse to eat nine meals. Then they will start checking your vital organs and observe you.
In February, I went on an eleven day hunger strike, only surviving from sugar pills the effects of which I had not been conscious of at the time. It’s only afterwards that I realized I was bleeding internally but still they have refused to give me medical treatment til this day as I complained on my recent sick call. They have blood samples and all.
The people on S.I.B. a.k.a. suicide watch are left in their cell with nothing but a spock a.k.a. turtle-suit with no blanket or mattress. I was in receptive on the same treatment and I have dates and times.
Overall our recreation request has been met. Everything else was probably a pseudo. We failed to address the main issue during the meetings, which is police brutality. Prisoners were being beaten there at least four times a day when I first arrived. I believe officials are a little more restrained now due to the outside support.
Due to the harassment of the prisoners in my pod from an official who called us snitches and b*tches for writing articles and filing lawsuits, I decide to sacrifice my freedom by accepting his challenge on behalf of my komrades. This was resolved in a George Jackson fashion style water gun that they sent me back to supermax for, with a felony charge facing 68 months to continue my webstar's studies.
Around June a Mexican prisoner jammed his door and got out his call and stabbed an officer back here on high security maximum control when the officers came to feed him. The prisoner ran to the end of the hallway with a shank in his hand and he grabbed a nearby broom stick. The prisoner ut his back against the wall. The officers came to enforce order and beat the Mexican prisoner unconscious. The officers to retaliate kept beating the prisoner saying stop resisting after the inmate was already unconscious.
You can look it up on the news report of June in North Carolina prison of Polk Correctional Institution. Not long after that an inmate back here on high security maximum control started a fire because the prison staff denied him and other prisoners their food. The other prisoners joined in on the fire. The officer took the other prisoners out their rooms but the person that started the fire was left inside his cell. The officer told the prisoner in his cell that he was going to get him out after he passed out. The prisoner suffocated with the smoke and died.
The prisoners who were his neighbors were questioned by the SBI to know the situation. The officer was supposed to be put in investigation but came to work the following day like nothing happened. A prisoner died because the prison staff didn't get him out until he passed out suffocating by the smoke. When it's the prison staff duty to serve and protect the lives of the prisoners housed in these prison facilities. How many more lives and families have to suffer because of the corruption of the government system?
[The following is text from a grievance submitted 18 September 2013 to the North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services that was accepted and then rejected without explanation. NCPLS is under contract with the NC Department of Public Safety to meet the legal requirement of access to legal resources for prisoners. As a result NC prisoners are not provided with law libraries. Meanwhile NCPLS repeatedly denies help to our comrades who have been writing them for years about the abuses like those described below. Combined with the obstructionism of the department staff handling grievances, North Carolina prisoners have become frustrated with the injustice and responded with hunger strikes and a campaign to demand that grievances are addressed in the state prison system. We have edited the text from the original grievance for clarity. - MIM(Prisons)]
Dear Prisoner Legal Services,
I have been housed in High Security Maximum Control(HCON) North Carolina State Prison. HCON is long-term isolation with single cells including blocks A,B,C and D, housing 96 prisoners total.
I been here over over 9 months in 23/24 hours locked down and face years here. What follows is a brief summary of the problems prisoners (WE) have here. Us prisoners always try to address our problems with the officers. They ignore inmates on our daily needs when we have a concern to be addressed for whatever matter.
We have to beat on our cell doors and windows to get officers attention because the call button of all cells was removed from the rooms. Then some officers most of the time take up to 45 or so minutes to appear in our window. An extremely loud noise beating on cells windows for a day long and night on the daily basis does disturb the peace of other prisoners as well as staff members also.
The high official Mr. Muns, Polk Correctional Institution Superintendent, and Mr. Ryan Irvin Assistant Superintendent of HCON fail to address officers behavior to have them do what their job requires them to do.
Prisoners throw human waste (shit mixed with piss) at staff members or prisoners set cells on fire to get things done by staff, which results in the prisoner being indicted on street charges.
It's not right all this happens on the daily basis and the matters are still not handled. All that happening in special house building is out of order. It makes an unsafe housing situation for prisoners and state staff.
The prisoners' behavior causes lack of medical attention we're suffering in special housing. Medical staff denied us medical emergency when declared most of the times. For example, nurse Mr. Berry, on September 15, 2013 denied me medical emergency I declared for high blood pressure and chest pain.
When we do get a nurse to respond to a medical emergency they are all being performed inside the prisoners' cells, which is also incorrect because cells are unhygienic and contaminated. It's unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, prisoners who submitted sick calls forms are facing months delays to be screened or be seen by doctor Lightsey Joseph. It take up 2 or 3 months without any concerns been fixed still. Most of the time prisoners sick calls are addressed outside the prisoner patient presence by doctor Lightsey Joseph. Mr. Mitchell Lawson nurse supervisor fails to properly train nurses personnel and he is liable.
On occasions staff members abuse their authority in many ways by messing up prisoners' meals or playing our emotional sense. Our food trays serve poor amounts of food. We starve. Mr. Carl Miller food service manager is in charge.
All prisoners clothes we use are damaged clothing. So bad they cause itching, are uncomfortable and unhygienic clothes and we are being force to use them.
For special house prisoners all outgoing or incoming mail are being obstructed by Ms. Jacqueline Maxey S.T.G. Sergeant, including reading all family or friends mail. Prisoners sometimes can't reach the North Carolina Department of Public Safety main office in the outside world to put our concerns in head official hands. So they're dirty ways can always be hidden, to save their hides. We can't reach our loved one.
Special housing staff intentionally misdeliver prisoner mail to different prisoners for that very purpose to cause harm to the prisoner himself or family members or friends. Or prisoner grieve whatever matter is... our grievances are not addressed or give a joke answer at step one. Grievances soon get dismissal always. Mr. Orlando Brown is also liable for prisoners' mail clothes issues.
Prison official also punish inmates in the prison by feeding us Nutraloaf for a 7 day period. Nutraloaf is a mix of beans, oatmeal, grits, collard greens etc... Which is cruel punishment along with taking all inmate property mattress, clothes, blanket, sheets. Except the clothing we wear for up to a 7 day period.
Us prisoners should not suffer these punishment when charges are filed and served more prison time and visa versa. It is double jeopardy.
All these should not be outside issues. They are institutional matters because Polk Correctional Institution higher official Mr. Muns and Mr. Ryan fail to fixes the special housing problems by first addressing their lower officers' behavior. Instead of giving more hard work to the Court of Justice as also affecting groups of prisoners sentences and making an unsafe and unhygienic housing for both prisoners as well for staff members also.
Just get lower officers lack of doing what they were hired for to do their work.
Finally, Mr. Muns also Mr. Ryan fail to understand, balanced, and excellent neglected to mention the typical hours for lower officer workers is 12 hours a day, 2 to 3 days a week. Staff are overly tired, burned out officers workers will make errors causing harm to prisoners in many ways to neighbors, and to themselves the prison staff is under staffed.
This is how special house crazy is.
North Carolina prisoner legal services could this office put hands on this matters to challenge in court?
I wait for you to hear a trustful and positive respond. Thanks you very much.
Relief sought, to hire the amount staff workers correct by state statute indicate. Fix special housing problems that affects a group of prisoners or close high security maximum control N.C. building. We demand our grievances are addressed. Address all points above in this sorta grievance. Remove Mr. Ryan from office.
On Monday, 19 May 2014, 7 prisoners at Polk Correctional on the H-Con Unit began a hunger strike due to inhumane conditions, and finally some getting fed up with the mistreatment. It is day 4 and 8 comrades refused their breakfast this morning. Some of the demands are:
These are just some of the most important of 33 demands. I am asking other comrades to join in support and fast or to write to:
Frank L. Perry, Secretary
Division of Prisons
4201 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4201
U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20530
or other forms of protest that do not cause you to receive an infraction. Also, pump them fists as we got a victory in the Central Prison Unit 1 case. They have to use a hand-held camera during all use of force, specifically after the use of force or during/until you are put back in your cell and no longer in contact with corrections staff. So hear it, can I get a hell yeah from all my comrades!
On August 2nd my old cellmate had only been here 5 days and within those 5 days the pigs were really messing with him. Then on the 2nd they told him they were moving him, just to move an inmate across the hall into his cell. They were going to move him to the end of the hall in a sally port with a prisoner who had feces smeared on his cell wall and old food in his cell. Before the move he asked to see the Sgt/Lt, but was told no, pack up or they would pack his stuff.
After moving he and I were at recreation call and we, along with one other prisoner, refused to lock up until the Lt/Captain came down. When she came I locked up. As she approached his sally port she asked what the smell was. He explained. They got the prisoner out of his cell and janitors bleached and removed all the items from the cell, and after the weekend on 8/5 he was moved to another cell.
Had we not stood our ground that prisoner's cell would still be covered in feces. The pigs knew this and were doing nothing. All of the H-Con staff here at Polk Incorrectional institution just didn't care, and went even further to harass a prisoner who they thought they could take advantage of due to his health (he just had surgery on his foot to reattach bones and replace a steel rod after PERT team pigs shattered it during an assault using excessive use of force a few months back). We need more times of unity like this in North Carolina prisons.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a small example of prisoners uniting for common cause. And this is a good start to building the broader unity that is necessary for the United Front for Peace that will build the power and strength of the anti-imperialist movement behind bars.