Prisoners Report on Conditions in

US Penitentiary MAX - Federal

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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.

[Control Units] [US Penitentiary MAX] [Federal]
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Feds Punish Legal Battles with Extreme Isolation

On 8 October 2014 I was suddenly awoken by men in black (literally) with guns who simply stated, "Get dressed you're leaving ADX." The United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) is considered the end of the line in the Federal prison system and the conditions of confinement are often more extreme than other facilities. ADX is where terrorist suspects are held in the United $tates.

While I had fought for 11 years to be released from solitary confinement, I was not expecting this sudden transfer. I was compelled to leave my property in my cell, rushed to an airport nearby, and placed on a privately chartered Gulfstream Jet. It was just me and the SWAT-type team of officers and pilots, on an aircraft clearly more used to ferrying billionaires than prisoners.

I was hopeful I was finally about to be treated with dignity and released from solitary since my plight has been chronicled in the courts and national media for years. I was very wrong.

I was flown to the Federal Medical Center in Springfield, Missouri which was built in 1933. I was thrown in solitary confinement in a small 6x9 foot cell that contains only a bed and toilet. The TV, 2 hours daily recreation and other amenities I had in ADX were gone in an instant, meager as they were. My only mental stimuli is to hope for mail or to watch aircraft land out my large window. I'm told I'm being mentally "evaluated," though no one seems to have time to do so. The conditions are so spartan and oppressive I am shocked.

That the U.$. government would respond to the largest class action lawsuit in its history, and scores of negative press (see: www.supermaxlawsuit.com), by treating me worse speaks to an audacity and arrogance only the U.S. Government is capable of. There is much left to achieve but I will continue to report on my journey through solitary nation.


MIM(Prisons) adds: For years we have been fighting to shut down prison control units because they are used just as this writer describes: as punishment for those who are resisting oppression. And for those who don't find solitary confinement sufficient inducement to stop filing lawsuits and protesting abuses, the Federal prison system has created even more extreme isolation as punishment, including and exceeding the notorious Supermax at ADX.

The imperialist system relies on these control units to punish and intimidate activists. The end of long-term solitary confinement is not possible today given the current balance of forces in the United $tates, but public opinion against them is spreading. It is our task to push an abolishionist stance against torture and not allow for reforms that maintain this tool of repression as a legal option under bourgeois rule. In the medium-term this is a winnable battle under capitalism, but we have a long way to go.

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[Hunger Strike] [Migrants] [US Penitentiary MAX] [Federal]
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Federal Supermax Prisoners Fight Complacency and Injustice

I began a hunger strike here at the federal supermax 16 days ago with several peers. My body is weak but my indignation is as powerful as ever and fuels my determination to not give up. The federal prison system controls us by giving us email, MP3 players, and huge meals daily. But under all of this we are not free and we must not ever trade our freedom and dignity for entertaining distractions and sugary snacks.

As many states slowly begin to close prisons, the federal government now seeks to use illegal immigration as an excuse to incarcerate thousands of poor migrants en masse. Only a corrupt, cold, capitalist society would justify incarcerating children simply because they were brought to America seeking food, shelter and a better life. Wall Street crooks haven't spent one day in a jail cell yet thousands of migrant children sit piled into cells so tightly there is no room to walk.

We must not become fat, lazy, complacent and compliant in the destruction of the social and moral fabric of our society (any more than it already is). We must all resist oppression for as Frederick Douglass once said, "The limits of tyrants are proscribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree wholeheartedly with this prisoner's sentiments about prisons, immigration and capitalism. And we join his call to all to resist oppression and complacency. We do, however, have some concerns about people initiating hunger strikes without clear demands and goals as this can lead to the weakening and even death of comrades who still have much to contribute to the struggle. This is a question of strategy and ensuring that we carefully plan actions so to maximize our energies and efforts, rather than bringing down repression without any gains. Sometimes we do take on losing battles, but in the course of these fights we are able to use the struggle to educate many and gain new supporters. We do not have more details on this comrade's hunger strike so we offer these cautionary words without judging h particular situation.

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[Control Units] [Medical Care] [US Penitentiary MAX] [Colorado] [Federal]
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Medical neglect in Colorado

One of the most alarming constitutional violations of prisoners' rights today is the denial of adequate psychological and medical treatment. In this prison alone, I have met dozens of inmates who have glaring psychological and medical problems. One quintessential case is the guy who literally tried to slice his genetalia off with a razor blade. This guy has also been kept in handcuffs and leg irons for several months, rather than be sent to a mental health facility. Keep in mind, while inmates at ADX are warehoused in the infamous "control unit," the unit where I am writing you from, it is prohibited to be prescribed psychotropic medication. Thus, guys who need psychotherapy in conjunction with psychotropic medication to function are not able to receive it while assigned to this unit. On average, inmates are serving four to eight years in this unit.

As for the inadequate medical treatment, the simplest way to describe this is as follows: for the entire prison complex of Florence, which consists of a camp, FCI, USP and the ADX Max Penitentiary, there is only one doctor and one dentist to service the entire complex. At ADX the doctor visits only one and one half days per week, and the dentist visits only twice per month. Thus, the waiting list to see either of them is astronomical. This comes as no surprise since there is over 2500 inmates living on this complex. I waited one year to receive my chronic care exam for Hep C. I also waited between 8 and 14 months to be seen by the dentist.

As a consequence of these egregious violations, I have filed two lawsuits since 1999. Twice now, media representatives, R. Scott Rappold, from the Gazette in Colorado Springs, and Henry Schuster, from 60 minutes, have contacted me in order to set up interviews with me at this prison. The prison rules clearly permit prisoners to have contact through visits and correspondence. However, the former must be approved by the Warden. So far, the warden has not approved a visit for me or any other inmate in the past nine years. Apparently, prison officials have something to hide. Even though in the prison regulations it states, we encourage inmates to maintain ties to the community, prison officials' actions speak otherwise.

Finally, it is good to read in the "Under Lock and Key" section that some brothers and sisters are still participating in the arduous yet all-important struggle for reform. Although not many are here in my midst, your publications apprise me that I am not alone.

As I sit here waiting for the seventh day to have photocopies made of legal papers with a June 19, 2007 deadline, I understand just how much patience and hard work is required to succeed against the American oligarchy.

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